Omnicom Bulks Up PHD in U.S.

The two agencies that previously made up Omnicom Media Group’s PHD media network in the U.S. built their businesses on strategic thinking. Now, the shop has added brawn, as well as brains.

Last week’s absorption of PentaCom and its $1.6 billion Daimler Chrysler account into a new version of PHD added considerable buying clout. In addition, the new-look PHD brings to the world’s largest ad market a decidedly European outlook.

“Clients are asking for more and more things from media companies, particularly the independents,” said David Pattison, PHD worldwide CEO, who is relocating from London to New York. “Planning and strategy will be as much of a core focus as buying has been in the past.” He added, “Having built businesses in London, I think there is an exciting challenge in North America.”

Under the new set-up, effective April 1, PHD’s media shops (New York-based Creative Me dia, St. Louis-based Advanswers and Detroit’s PentaCom) will all be renamed PHD. PentaCom adds Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz to Advanswers’ and Crea tive Media’s client rosters, which include Charles Schwab, Good year and Discovery Network. The new PHD claims an estimated $4.5 billion in total billings and also has offices in Chicago and San Francisco.

Steve Grubbs moves from OMD, where he was CEO of the U.S., to be CEO, PHD North America. The leaders of the three PHD shops, PentaCom’s Cindy Nelson, Advanswers’ Don Stork and Creative Media’s Mickey Marks, retain their current responsibilities.

When Omnicom created PHD in 2000, the intent was to offer an entrepreneurial alternative to OMD’s link to sister shops BBDO, TBWA and DDB. Creative Me dia, acquired in 1996, and Advanswers, purchased in 1998, were added to Canadian shop HYPN to form PHD’s North American operations.

The new structure and last week’s OMD transformation allows Omnicom to offer “the distinction between OMD and PHD [heri tages],” said Omnicom Media Group CEO Daryl Simm.