Unilever win is a 'game changer' for PHD

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 14 July 2015

Winning the $58 million Unilever media account with be a “game changer” for the Sydney agency, according to its top management.

This morning Unilever revealed that it had handed the Australian media account to PHD after a competitive pitch that pitted Initiative and PHD against incumbent Mindshare - which is understood not to have pitched.

Agency CEO Mark Coad told AdNews: “We planned it for a long time and it's a good example of a pitch we've won where the winning wasn’t done in the room, it was done with the work around it and the effort it took to get there. Strategically, they were looking for something we were able to give them.”

There is a huge trading element to the business, which includes a raft of FMCG brands including Lynx (pictured), Dove and Omo, and Unilever is known to be highly price driven. However, Coad said the pitch wasn't all about price.

“We had to be highly competitive, but if it couldn’t be done we wouldn't be doing it,” he said.

The account, which according to Nielsen figures is worth around $55 million but other sources put closer to $58 million, sits alongside PHD's existing client ANZ as the biggest in its portfolio.

“Every now and again you win a piece of business that redefines the agency. We know that we're not amongst the big boys yet and always wanted to secure a big win to take that next level – and now we've done it.”

Toby Hack, managing director of PHD Sydney added that the win “validates the incredible work the PHD has been doing globally with Unilever and in New Zealand.”

“Any win like this is a brilliant opportunity for an agency to shift to the kind of agency it wants to be – we've got a lot of brilliant people here, but we'll look for a few more,” he said.

Neither Hack nor Coad were able to say how many new bodies PHD would need to recruit to service the account, but it's likely to need around 10 people on the business. It's likely to look within the Omnicom Group network as well as externally for the right people, and is understood to have already reached out to agency execs at rivals with relevant FMCG knowledge and experience.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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