THE BRAND owners’ co-operative formed last year to pool direct marketing data and knowhow has begun a series of test mailings following accusations of inaction. The Consumer Needs Consortium has hired dm agency Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray to oversee a number of test mailings, the first of which is for Lever Brothers’ new Persil Tablets brand, using data supplied by Kimberly-Clark. As the consortium was unforthcoming with further information, Marketing magazine turned to rent-a-quote creative Trevor Pettit of Carlson [an agency unconnected with the venture]: 'This activity follows the direct marketing model used in the US' he opined knowingly. 'By sharing data in this way, fmcg firms can achieve ‘clean’ lists of prospective customers at much lower costs - a priority as we face an economic turndown.' Deftly combining economic prophesy with opaque marketing-speak Pettit continued: 'It will also enable the firms involved to speak collectively to shared customers, combining lifestyle data with occasions of purchase.' [The IDM - if not Fowler - would be proud of you, Trevor!]