School Reports 2012: PHD Group

The reason why PHD retained its title as Campaign's Media Agency of the Year in 2011 is because, perhaps more than any of its rivals, it continually demonstrates ways in which media can be truly creative.

Recent Minute To Win It work
Recent Minute To Win It work

Score: 9

Agency factfile: PHD Group
Type of agency Media and marketing communications
Company ownership Omnicom Media Group
Key personnel Philippa Brown chairman, PHD Group
  Daren Rubins chief executive
  Frances Ralston-Good managing director
  Hugh Cameron chief strategy officer
  David Wilding head of planning
Nielsen billings 2011 £289m
Nielsen billings 2010 £245m
Declared income £21.5m (2010)
Total accounts at year end 95
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Sony Ericsson)
Accounts lost 1 (bmibaby)
TV 54%
Press 24%
Outdoor 7%
Radio 6%
Online 8%
Cinema 1%
Number of staff 220 (+1%)

At the Campaign Media Awards, PHD was the winner in the public sector and charity category with its work for the British Heart Foundation, while a Christmas campaign for Sainsbury's earned it a commendation in the best total communications programme category. In June, PHD was also rewarded for its 2010 Irn-Bru "Bru-zil" work when it won a gold at the Cannes Media Lions.

PHD has a key weapon with its content business, Drum, which delivered high-profile work for HP and Cadbury in 2011. For Cadbury, Drum arranged for the popular US Minute To Win It gameshow to be replicated over in the UK and broadcast on ITV2. The nature of the show lent itself perfectly to a Cadbury's "spots vs stripes" sponsorship.

In 2011, the only account that left PHD's doors was bmibaby, which moved after the airline's consolidation into its parent company. The agency picked up £40 million of new business from clients such as eHarmony, Learndirect and, and a fiercely fought global review saw PHD prise Sony Ericsson away from the more established incumbent network MEC.

PHD also had an injection of energy last year when Frances Ralston-Good was hired as managing director, after Daren Rubins was moved up to chief executive. And both PHD North and Drum got new MDs in the form of TBWA\Manchester's Dani Briers and OMD's Ella d'Amato respectively. It remains to be seen, however, if PHD's management can help secure a Campaign media hat-trick this year. No pressure, then.

Score last year: 9

How PHD Group rates itself: 9

"2010 was a record year for PHD. In 2011,we were even stronger, with a new MD in London, a new MD in Manchester and a new MD in Drum. And it paid off: 99 per cent client retention, some big new-business wins - including Sony Ericsson and eHarmony - and a record haul of awards, including a gold Cannes Lion."

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