School Reports 2013: PHD Group

British Heart Foundation
British Heart Foundation

Score: 7  Last year: 9

Having won Campaign’s Media Agency of the Year accolade two years running in 2010 and 2011, there was pressure for the agency to perform well in 2012.

Despite missing out on the title, PHD had a year that many agencies would be proud of. It delivered award-winning work for the British Heart Foundation and retained its key client, Mondelez International, in a competitive review.

PHD’s network captured the global Unilever communications planning brief – a major coup for London, where the bulk of the business will be based.

The agency executed high-profile Olympic campaigns for Cadbury and Sainsbury’s. For the supermarket, the Omnicom content arm, Drum, worked with PHD to create a series of films that introduced viewers to ten Team GB Paralympians and their stories to promote Sainsbury’s sponsorship of the Paralympic Games on Channel 4.

PHD picked up the consolidated £7 million business for Experian, which made up for the loss of the TV Licensing contract and Arriva, both of which totalled less than £2 million in spend.

Its management team was enviably stable, led by the chief executive, Daren Rubins, the managing director, Frances Ralston-Good, the head of planning, David Wilding, and the chief strategy officer, Hugh Cameron. The agency also knows how to keep its existing talent happy – it promoted 41 people in 2012.

Client retention was impressive during 2012 and continuing this in 2013 will be a real achievement. As rival agencies up their game, it will also be interesting to see if the agency can maintain its reputation as a strategic trailblazer in the sector.

PHD Group
Type of agency Media and marketing
Company ownership Omnicom
Key personnel Philippa Brown chairman
Daren Rubins chief executive
Frances Ralston-Good managing director
Hugh Cameron chief strategy officer
David Wilding head of planning
Nielsen billings 2012 £292m
Nielsen billings 2011 £288m
Declared income £25.5m (2011)
Total accounts at year end 103
Accounts won 7 (biggest: Experian)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: TV Licensing)
TV 52%
Press 19%
Outdoor 9%
Radio 7%
Online 10%
Cinema 3%
Number of staff 229 (+4%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

How PHD rates itself: 8

"Maintaining our successes in recent years was never going to be easy but we’ve exceeded even our own expectations. Another phenomenal year of awards, talent development and financial performance, as we continue to find a better way by putting the human touch into everything that we do. But our exceptional client retention, including securing the entire Mondelez business was definitely the highlight."