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Plummer Disengages from ARF

October 1 2007

Joseph Plummer has resigned his post as Chief Research Officer at US professional body, the ARF. In a separate recent announcement, the association named nine new members for its Board of Directors.

Plummer, now 66, assumed the CRO role in June 2005 (www.mrweb.com/drno/news4191.htm ), with a remit to help 'advance the scientific practice of advertising and marketing'. He previously spent eight years at McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, latterly as Executive VP, Director of Research & Insight Development, and before that held senior roles at DMB&B advertising, research agency ASW and investment bank Paine Webber/Young & Rubicam Ventures.

Plummer was widely associated with a move away from simple consumer ad awareness and exposure towards a more in-depth notion of how they reacted to ads - 'engagement' - and launched a definition of engagement at the 2006 ARF conference, describing it as 'Turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context'.

Some industry sources have suggested that Plummer himself and/or others were frustrated by the difficulty of pushing forward the engagement idea, with many different points of view competing for influence in its direction. Describing him as the 'Poster Boy of Engagement', AdAge.com quotes him as saying that there was 'disappointment that we were unable to achieve what I hoped we would when I came there.' However Bob Barocci, CEO of the ARF, has called the engagement initiative 'very successful' and put Plummer's departure down to pursuit of other interests, pointing out that he will continue to edit the Journal of Advertising Research.

Author and researcher Dr Raymond Pettit will take over some of Plummer's roles in the engagement area, on a freelance basis.

Just under three weeks ago, the association announced nine new members for its Board of Directors. They are:

  • Tony Fagan - Director of Product Marketing, Google
  • Belle Frank - EVP, Brand Planning Group Director, Young & Rubicam
  • Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D. - Professor and Director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University
  • Sarah Patterson - SVP Director of Account Planning and Research, Burrell Communications
  • David Poltrack - Chief Research Officer , CBS Corporation
  • Randall Rothenberg - Chief Executive Officer, IAB
  • Susan Wagner - Vice President, Strategy and Insights , Pepsi-Cola North America
  • Britta Ware - VP, Research Solutions , Meredith Corporation
  • John Zogby - President and CEO, Zobgy International.
The ARF board is comprised of members from four groups: advertisers, advertising agencies, media companies, and research companies. Founded in 1936 by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, its members include more than 300 advertisers, advertising agencies, associations, research firms, and media companies. The Association is based in New York and is online at www.theARF.org.

All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.

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