AMV and PHD launch full-service media-neutral agency The House

LONDON - Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and its Omnicom sister agency PHD are launching a new agency.

They are reversing the trend for media agencies to launch planning units in ad agencies by launching a full-service creative offering within PHD's Rocket media agency. Its aim is to offer media-neutral creative solutions.

The new agency, likely to be called The House, will launch with £7m of BT creative work covering its 118 500 directory enquiries service and its phonebooks business. St Luke's previously handled creative for 118 500 and Fallon for phonebooks, but both accounts moved into AMV at the end of July.

A team to run the new agency is being recruited from both AMV and Rocket. This will include communications planners, creatives, account planers and managers. The AMV creatives Ben Kay and Daryl Corps will join the agency, which will be led by Mark Sherwood, the managing director of Rocket.

Once established, the agency will offer creative services to Rocket and PHD clients and will aim to pitch for media and creative accounts.

The launch follows previous co-operation between AMV and PHD. As well as sharing clients such as BT and Sainsbury's in April 2004, the two agencies launched a communications planning division called PHD Seed within AMV. Sources said the success of this venture  led to the agencies looking at further ways to work together.

PHD has a long record of co-operation with ad agencies. In 1997, it launched MSc, a planning-only operation, with Partners BDDH.

Farah Ramzan Golant, the AMV chief executive, said: "Everybody talks collaboration but this is about actually doing it - creative people working with media planning as part of the same team, in a direct and open way."

Tess Alps, the chairman of PHD Group, said: "The House will enable communications planning to be bound into the heart of the creative process, where it belongs."

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