Naked Communications Showing a Little Skin Naturally, Paul Woolmington has something else to say. The peripatetic partner of New York's Naked Communications has just spent almost an hour being interviewed in advance of the agency's designation as 2007 Media Boutique of the Year, and now he wants to change the name of the award his shop is about to win. Almost before the interviewer hangs up, an e-mail appears from Woolmington urging us to reconsider calling his industry-rattling agency a boutique. "I really think we would be contenders for agency of the year but if you are looking at an alternate category, I would argue that boutique isn't quite right," he writes. "How about 'disrupter,' 'innovator,' 'defy-description-agency of the year!!!'" Sounds like a boutique agency to us. The fact remains that Naked's Gotham staff, in toto, includes fewer people than a National Football League team. Still, now you know why the agency's motto is "The best fun you can have with your clothes on." And you are well on your way to understanding why The Washington Post called this brash imagination machine "the future of advertising." Woolmington, co-founders M.T. Carney and Neal Davies, and the rest of their self-named "brilliant misfits" swarmed all over major accounts last year, culminating in the blockbuster win of Johnson & Johnson's communications planning account. J&J, like most of Naked's clients, originally was just a project client for the shop. In all, the two-year-old U.S. iteration of the media-agnostic English idea factory has worked for almost 30 clients, including such stalwarts as Coca-Cola, Nokia, Amex Open, Coty, NBC Universal, Nike, Price Waterhouse, Target, Suntory and Sony. "Naked is born of an idea," Woolmington explains. "The name, as much as it is salacious and fun, is about the naked truth. Objectivity. Brands living naked in front of consumers." He adds, "We are not media planning on steroids. Our fundamental difference is that we are pure of any bias, totally objective, and we take communications planning to where it should go." The final product, in other words, "is a marketing communications plan that isn't just a spreadsheet. Brand strategy and communications strategy are inextricably linked. They're one and the same. If a brand is the sum total of touchpoints with the consumer, then communications is brand strategy." The Naked staff itself reflects the philosophy of pure communications agnosticism. In the shop's SoHo HQ are ex-marketers from diverse companies like Nike and Def Jam, former staffers at pr agencies, ad agencies and marketing consultancies, forecasters, strategists from design agencies, even a creative from Wieden & Kennedy. Naked now is setting its sights on other North American markets. It continues to pursue major accounts. And it knows it's building a new paradigm that others are sure to follow - although Woolmington, no doubt, would take issue with the exact wording.