Naked suits up with U.S. marketers

U.K.-born agency scores Coke and Virgin during first month in New York

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Naked communications, the U.K.-born media-strategy firm, is beginning to make its mark in the U.S., landing two high-profile assignments since opening last month.

Coca-Cola Co. has tapped Naked to create a global platform for its Diet Coke and Coke Light brand that will run alongside its ongoing creative campaign. The project, which is expected to take the shop into a variety of disciplines, including design, is a mass effort that's aimed at a "sophisticated, urban target," according to founding partner M.T. Carney, who declined to give further details.

Naked also does work for Coke's Minute-Maid brand.

The second new client is Virgin Mobile, which has hired the New York shop to handle communications planning and "creative amplification" in the U.S. Ms. Carney described creative amplification as a process that, in part, will help channel creative ideas from independent Mother, New York, in ways outside of paid media like TV.

Since December, when it followed through on a longtime threat to open up shop in the U.S., Naked has been one of the more closely watched agencies around. Established creative and media agencies alike have trembled a bit at the thought of losing strategic ground to a shop known abroad for crafting solutions that are not only media-neutral but take marketing communications into unexpected places.

Ms. Carney and co-founder Paul Woolmington have stressed that they're not at odds with those agencies. On Virgin Mobile, they're working alongside fellow hotshop Mother, as well as Virgin Mobile's media-planning agency Mediahead to help reach the client's young target audience, whose eyes are not glued to the tube.

"We're really taking a nice advertising idea from Mother and we're working on that in a way that communicates with these consumers," she said. "For Virgin's late-teen, young-adult audience, the reliance on TV as the core of the plan isn't going to cut through anymore. It's not the way these consumers act. And people know that Virgin is out there. What they need to do is think and feel differently about the brand. We're looking for communications channels that will do that."
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