As part of Campaign’s 50th Anniversary issue, the publication ranked the best 20 agencies of all time – and PHD made the top 10, earning the accolade of one of the most influential agencies of past and present.
Campaign wrote of PHD’s ranking:
In 1990 and in response to the buying sheds that were beginning to be thrown up across London, David Pattison, Nick Horswell and Jonathan Durden launched PHD – designed to be the antithesis of pure clout, with strategy at the heart of its offering.
The trio believed that some clients wanted more than just bulk buying – it “thought before it bought” – and they were right. PHD launched with Guardian Newspapers as a founding client, a relationship that still stands.
“Smart” media was embedded at PHD’s core and three years after launch it created Drum, the UK’s first sponsorship agency, which was later run by Tess Alps and pioneered content and advertiser-funded programming.
In 1996, the agency merged with the media department at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, resulting in a doubling of staff, and two years later it was named both Campaign and Media Week’s Agency of the Year.
As the decade drew to a close, eyes turned towards exporting its model overseas. In 2002, it launched in the US and Canada in what was to become the first part of its global network, which now sits across more than 80 countries.
The 2005 creation of Omnicom Media Group, and the power of the holding company it provided, propelled it further still, meaning that what was once an interesting, but rather niche, planning peculiarity could be delivered on a global scale.
Further launches in Asia Pacific and the appointment of Mike Cooper as worldwide chief executive followed, as did global new business – including Volkswagen, Elizabeth Arden and GSK.
Mike Cooper, PHD Worldwide CEO, is also in the running for Media Leader of the Year at the 2018 Media Week Awards, to be held on 11 October 2018 in London.