School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]
PHD UK



PHD UK



Type of agency & ownership:  Media agency, owned by Omnicom
Nielsen billings 2017: £524m (+53%)
Declared income: £45.6m (2016)
Total accounts at year end: 95
Accounts won: 11 (biggest: Argos)
Accounts lost: 6 (biggest: Elizabeth Arden)
Number of staff: 288 (+28%)
Key personnel: Verica Djurdjevic, chief executive, PHD UK; Hugh Cameron, chairman, PHD UK; Michael Florence, chief strategy officer, PHD UK; Matt Sanders, chief operating officer, PHD UK; Jon Kershaw, managing director, PHD Manchester
Star player: Jo Battersby, Billie Collins and Leanne Phillipou, receptionists

Year in review

PHD had a hell of a year when it nearly lost one of its biggest clients in a secret review just as the agency was changing chief executive. The Argos-Sainsbury’s contest was the biggest pitch drama in years as the retailer held a closed process and decided to move its business to data-savvy M/SIX after 22 years with PHD.

Miraculously, parent company Omnicom Media Group lodged an appeal over the way the pitch was run and kept the account. However, it was a mighty shock that suggested PHD needed to raise its game, which, to give the agency credit, it did.

The timing was a nightmare for Verica Djurdjevic, who took over as chief executive after long-serving Daren Rubins left midway through the saga. She did well to keep the ship steady, and it’s worth noting PHD successfully defended other big accounts, including Experian, picked up business from Virgin Holidays, Bet Victor and others, and bedded in the big Volkswagen Group win from 2016. The six account losses, including Elizabeth Arden, were minor. Some of PHD’s work such as "Continuity Bat" for Warner Bros’ The Lego Batman Movie was top-class and garlanded with awards.

Winning the £51.5m Argos business as part of the Sainsbury’s consolidation has given PHD valuable exposure to ecommerce. The agency has also developed a beguilingly simple, audience-led planning process, Rhythms. It won over clients and Discovery@PHD, the unit responsible for Rhythms, was shortlisted for Agency Team of the Year at the Campaign Media Awards.

Agency's Year In A Tweet


"In a challenging year, we delivered unprecedented annual growth in billings & headcount and did some great work along the way"

Scores


Score this year: 7
Score last year: 9
How the agency scores itself: 8
Management strength: 8
Creativity: 8
Innovation: 7
New business: 6
Diversity: 6

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £40.5m (yr ending 31 Dec 2016)
Previous: n/s
Change: 6.80%

Operating profit

Latest: £9.1m (yr ending 31 Dec 2016)
Previous: n/s
Change: 6.40%

List of total accounts Retained:

PHD London

Admiral

Argos

Audi

Babylon

Banana Republic

Bet Victor

Bic Shave Club

Bovis Homes

British Heart Foundation

Burt's Bees

Canon

Channel 5

City & Guilds of London institute

City Lit (Project)

Corgi Homeplan

Comedy Central

Confused.com

Converse

Cunard

CyDen

D&AD (Project)

DB Apparel Group

Dole

Economist

eHarmony

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Expedia

Experian

FairFX

Funding Circle

Gap

Global Radio

Guardian News & Observer

Harrods

Holland America Cruise Lines

HP

Logitech

Macmillan Cancer Support

Magners

Man

MTV

McCain Foods

National Football League (NFL)

Nickelodeon

Newell Rubbermaid

Nutmeg

P&O Cruises

Princess Cruises

Pure Cremation

Purple Bricks

Renew Life

SC Johnson

Sainsbury’s Supermarket

Sainsbury's Bank

SAP

SEAT

Skoda

Smart Energy GB

Tangle Teezer

Triumph Motorcycles

Twitter

Porsche

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Holidays

Vonage

VW

VW Commercial Vehicles

Warner Bros Distributors

Warner Bros Home Video

Warner Interactive Entertainment

Whitbread Restaurants

Wonga.com

Yell

PHD Manchester

A Plan Insurance

AG Barr Plc

Bentley

Carwow

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power

CrossCountry Trains

Crown Paints

Exact

Emerson Electrical

Grand Central Railways

Homedics

JAM Audio

Jewson

Manchester City Football Club

Marketing Cheshire

NCC/Escrow

Sandtex

Sol Republic

Spam

Skippy

VM Ware

Project based:

Exact

D&AD

City Lit

Top three spending accounts:

Volkswagen Group (n/s)

Sainsbury’s Group (n/s)

Admiral Group

Number of retained accounts: 92
Number of accounts that are projects: 3
Biggest win: Argos (£51.5m)
Biggest loss: Elizabeth Arden (£700,000)

Diversity


Awards

Haymarket award wins


Marketing New Thinking Awards: 1

Media Week Awards: 6

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