When David Pattison, Nick Horswell and Jonathan Durden launched Pattison Horswell Durden (PHD) in London in 1990, the agency was credited with inventing “creative media”.   While competitors, like the newly launched Zenith, were all about buying clout, PHD’s proposition was for clients who valued prize strategy.

In PHD’s first press ads, the ambition was clear: this was an agency focused on unleashing creativity and fusing strategic planning with buying.  An agency that thought before it bought.  An agency that was about to unleash a new era of creative communications planning.


This planning led approach saw PHD pick up The Guardian Newspaper as its founding client, who still remains a client today.

In 2002 PHD opened its first offices outside of the UK and over the next few years grew the international network, which today has over 80 offices worldwide.  The formation of PHD’s parent company Omnicom Media Group in 2005 meant that PHD’s buying was now powered by one of the world’s largest media holding companies.

Clients could now benefit from PHD’s unique approach to media planning, without compromising on the buying.

For over two decades, PHD has pick up awards for its innovative and creative media ideas, from Campaign Grand Prix’s to Cannes Lions.  In the Gunn Report for Media 2014, PHD climbed to 3rd place for most awarded network in the world and two of the four most awarded campaigns in the world are from PHD.  WARC’s ranking of 2014’s most effective campaigns in the world also sees PHD’s work for Unilever occupy the top two spots.

PHD’s heritage is unlike any other media agency network.  From a radical challenger proposition that started in 1990’s London with a headcount of four, PHD’s unique positioning as a leader in creative communications planning has evolved globally and today we are over 3,000 employees in over 80 countries and work with some of the world’s largest advertisers.

PHD continues to keep the founding principles of innovation, creativity and thought-leadership alive and today our philosophy is best summed up as ‘finding a better way’.

Our Danish CEO Claus Andersen comments on the celebration and the unique culture at PHD in this press release