Campaign Media Awards 2006: Media Achiever of the Year - David Pattison

Thirty-two years after starting out in media, David Pattison - the P in PHD - is bowing out. He will leave a string of success stories and a track-record of outstanding achievement behind him.

Pattison's decision to leave the industry at this point means he is going out at the top of his game - and he departs PHD with the agency in great shape. 2006 was the year Pattison's long-held ambition of rolling out PHD as a global network was truly fulfilled. It was also the year he took the helm as the president of the IPA - the first high-profile media man to take the job.

After starting his career in the media department of the advertising agency Masius, Wynne-Williams & D'Arcy McManus (now DMB&B), Pattison progressed through DDB, Grey and TBWA, keeping television buying as his main focus until 1983.

Pattison then joined John Ayling & Associates, which was an example of that rare entity - a media independent. In 1985, he moved to become the joint media director at the advertising agency WCRS, with his partner Jonathan Durden.

In 1990, the pair left to join forces with Nick Horswell. It was then that PHD was born.

PHD, which is often credited with inventing the notion of strategic media planning, started life as a media independent with no billings or income. By the time Abbott Media Vickers BBDO acquired it six years later, it had achieved £100 million in annual turnover.

Founded on creative principles and a commitment to quality that few could rival, the agency has consistently delivered the goods over its 17 years in existence.

Although Horswell and senior colleague Ken New departed the company (and Durden ultimately opted for a more back-seat role), Pattison stuck with it.

He became the chief executive of the PHD group of companies in 1997 and the agency was voted Media Agency of the Year by the industry in 1998 and 1999.

In 2001, Omnicom appointed Pattison as the chief executive of the PHD network; he has spent the past two years in New York setting up the US business, now worth around $4 billion. Pattison recently returned to the UK to focus on the European region.

The business he founded with Horswell and Durden all those years ago has long outgrown its origins as a media boutique. Yet, little more than a year ago, PHD only had offices in the UK, the US and Canada and the idea of a global network sounded somewhat fanciful.

PHD and Pattison proved the doubters wrong, laying out the main infrastructure of Omnicom's second-string media network by the beginning of this year and winning its first global clients just a few months later.

As the president of the IPA, Pattison has been credited with doing a statesmanlike job. He has used his platform to reflect on the separation between the creative and media strands of the advertising business and how each needs input from the other.

He also argues that the advertising industry needs to lift its game and start behaving more as a "business", grasping the nettle on transparency, becoming better negotiators and saying "no" to bad deals more often.

Pattison also argues that the ad business needs to learn to talk the language of chief executives, rather than marketing departments, and engage in more advocacy of the industry, rather than constantly running down the standards of modern creative work.

In his spare time, Pattison finds time to watch sport, regularly play rugby and squash and indulge his passion for cars, motorbikes and fishing.

After two years abroad, 2006 marked Pattison's homecoming to London and it was a very successful year indeed. Yet it is Pattison's entire career and contribution to the industry through PHD and the IPA that has singled him out for this award.

His departure from the industry will leave a gap that will be difficult to fill. Pattison joins an impressive list of past Campaign media achievers, including the Channel 4 chief executive, Andy Duncan, in 2005 and The Independent editor, Simon Kelner, in 2004.

2006: Appointed president of the IPA
2000: Chief executive, PHD Worldwide
1990: Co-founder and managing partner, Pattison Horswell Durden (PHD)
1985: Media director, WCRS
1983: Media planner/buyer, John Ayling & Associates
1980: Head of TV, TBWA
1975: TV buyer, Doyle Dane Bernbach
1974: TV buying assistant, Masius Wynne-Williams & D'Arcy McManus
2005: Andy Duncan
2004: Simon Kelner
2003: Tony Ball
2002: David Yelland
2001: Michael Jackson
2000: Caroline Marland
1999: Marjorie Scardino
1998: David Elstein


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