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Naked co-founder John Harlow passes away

John Harlow

John Harlow

John Harlow, one of the world’s most original media thinkers, has passed away.

Harlow died after suffering a hemorrhage in hospital in the UK, a close friend and former colleague has confirmed.

Harlow is the co-founder of Naked Communications, a strategy agency he launched with Will Collin and Jon Wilkins in 2000.

Naked turned the media agency model upside down by offering pure media thinking without the buying.

In a tribute to Harlow, Wilkins said: “John was one of my best friends, and a total inspiration.”

“When we set Naked up we wanted to create a home for the brilliant misfits of our industry. John was one of the most brilliant.”

“The world will be a poorer place without him,” he said.

In thirteen years, Naked has become a global brand, with offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Minneapolis, New York, Copenhagen and London.

The agency was acquired by Photon Group – now known as Enero – for $38m in 2008.

Harlow joined The Brand Agency in Perth as director of communications planning in March this year, but only spent a brief period with the agency before returning to the UK. He had since been living in Brighton, England.

He was described by Fast Company magazine in 2005 as a “scruffier-looking James Dean with piercing blue eyes”.

Former colleague Mike Wilson, who was until recently Naked’s chairman for Australia and New Zealand, wrote in an opinion piece on Mumbrella.com.au: “It’s hard, because everyone will also know someone, or know of someone, who has died far too young – just 45 in John’s case – and who has been devastated by alcoholism.”

Robin Hicks

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