Tough Brit Fights U.S. Nightmare

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"What really horrifies me is the millions of dollars that clients spend in this country that's unaccountable in terms of sales," says Kate Lynch with characteristic aplomb.

It's that kind of non-politic comment that's quickly made Ms. Lynch, 34, VP-director of media research at the Starcom Media Services unit of Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, a lightning rod in the insular world of media researchers. While colleagues at other agencies don't always agree with her, Starcom's clients seem to love her aggressive, direct style.

Arriving from her native Britain almost two years ago, Ms. Lynch, an acknowledged expert in the use of optimizers, surveyed the U.S. scene and pronounced it a "nightmare," she says. "There's little proprietary research here. I've changed that, at least for Starcom."

She says she also was shocked that advertisers buy TV time based on program ratings, not commercial ratings as they do in the U.K.

"In five years no advertiser will stand for program ratings instead of commercial ratings," she predicts.

"Kate's the most actional researcher I've ever come across," says her boss, Bob Brennan, president of Starcom.

"By that I mean Kate always gets answers for the client. "She never equivocates, or says it's too expensive, or we can't find out. She finds the answer and finds a way to get it economically."

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