NEWS22 November 2022

Jeremy Bullmore archive highlights views on market research

Media News UK

UK – WPP has launched an archive to make available the work of advertising executive Jeremy Bullmore, former president of the Market Research Society, including his musings on the role of research in the advertising process.

Jeremy Bullmore

The Best of Bullmore website, established to celebrate Bullmore as he retires from WPP at the age of 93, collates speeches, essays and memos from throughout his career, which began in 1954.

Featured is Bullmore’s keynote address at the MRS annual conference in 2005, where he mused on the value of research.

“Research, of one kind or another, provides the basis for most of the decisions that the control our lives. Anyone who makes those decisions will also inevitably make mistakes. Decision-making is an imprecise science; so decision-makers are fallible – and so, however reluctantly, we may forgive them,” said Bullmore at the conference.

“But we should not as readily forgive anyone who knowingly or carelessly provides dodgy data on which those decisions are founded. Drawing a map of the immediate past may be difficult – but it is not nearly as difficult as affecting the future in a planned and benevolent way.  So, I expect higher standards from those who inhabit the world of research than I do from other mortals – and I sense I’m not alone in this.”

Also included in the archive is a speech given to mark the 50th anniversary of MRS in 1996. At the National Liberal Club in London, Bullmore reflected on the relationship between market researchers and advertising agencies, saying: “Perhaps the biggest single difference between agency people and research people is that agency people sometimes find it difficult to accept that truth is beautiful.”

Bullmore, who started his career as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson London, was appointed as president of MRS in 2005. He has also chaired the Advertising Association, served as president of industry charity Nabs and held non-executive director roles at the Guardian Media Group and WPP.

MRS launched the Jeremy Bullmore award for creative development research in 2017.

Caroline Marshall, former editor of Campaign, managed the archive project, working with WPP chief executive Mark Read and director of communications and corporate affairs Chris Wade. 

Read said: “There’s his razor-like strategic mind, his wit, his ability to engage, enthral and entertain, his analysis of the industry without fear or favour. There’s also his generosity and the entirely selfless support, advice and kindness he has given to so many of us over the decades. As he retires, Jeremy represents our industry at its absolute best. We are so very lucky to have him.”

Marshall added: “Ever since I joined Campaign and asked Jeremy to write for the magazine, he has been a mentor and a friend. Whether you are in leadership or just want some life advice, his wisdom about brands and working in a service industry is here to inspire us all.”