PHD (striver)

Wins quell big-account doubts as agency grows by adding 17 offices

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omnicom group's second-biggest media network continued its maturation, building out a global foundation and growing its profile in the U.S. PHD's new business included HBO, Hormel Foods' Jennie-O, Roche Group's Tamiflu, Unisys and the $250 million Safeway business. It lost only Jim Beam Brands and Reebok, due to its takeover by Adidas. In an overall strong new-business year, the Safeway grocery chain win especially impressive, dashing skepticism that the shop can't hack it in the biggest reviews. Credit improvements to CEO North America Steve Grubbs and Matt Seiler, who since joining as U.S. president in 2004 has injected life into an agency that had been struggling to make headway in the States. In addition to getting his communications-planning processes to take root, he recruited a pair of strong talents from larger sibling OMD. John Swift, who joined as managing director, will supervise the buying groups, and the veteran Judy Vogel will run research.

PHD still has a ways to go before it's a top-ranked media shop, but it has made strides in important areas such as business development. Some 17 offices were added in 2006, giving the scale it needs to hunt those big global accounts. Now it's just a matter of bagging one.
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