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PHD plans ‘aggressive’ roll out

Omnicom’s PHD is to open an office in Saudi Arabia in the first half of next year as part of a “aggressive” plan to expand the media agency across the region.

Omnicom’s PHD is to open an office in Saudi Arabia in the first half of next year as part of a “aggressive” plan to expand the media agency across the region.

Samar Salman, who previously set up Mindshare’s operation in the Levant and North Africa, has been named as the general manager for PHD Middle East.

Talking about opening an office in the Kingdom, Salman said: “We are looking at doing it very quickly. In the first or second quarter of 2006.” Representatives will also be appointed in Egypt and Lebanon and fully-fledged offices will be opened across the region depending on client needs.

As reported in Campaign last month, the launch of PHD comes as Omnicom expands its global media services division, Omincom Media Group, which in addition to PHD also includes OMD and a number of specialist companies.

OMG has decided to launch PHD worldwide as an alternative to its OMD agency.

Founded in the UK, the agency is credited with being the first to evolve from straight media buying to strategic media planning.

Salman said that PHD in the Middle East will continue to uphold the philosophy of the agency but admitted it would take time to develop.

“Just because I put a name on an agency and badge it as PHD doesn’t mean it will happen overnight, it doesn’t. We know what PHD stands for, we have an image that needs to be maintained. But we need time to implement things,” she said.

OMD’s regional director, Elie Khouri will head up OMG in the region, while Ravi Rao continues in his role as general manger of PHD’s sister agency OMD Dubai.

Alain Khouri, chairman of OMG in the region, said: “An increasing number of advertisers are entrusting our organisation with their media requirements. As media is gaining in sophistication and complexity across our region, we feel it is necessary to multiply our resources to cater to those clients’ specific needs. Our two media companies, OMD and PHD, are both fully equipped to offer superior media services, each supplying its own clients with comprehensive media tools and systems.”

Elie Khouri added: “PHD in Dubai will be as much a PHD operation as in the countries where it currently operates.

“We have made OMD in the Middle East an integral part of its global network and we will apply the same logic to PHD. A key benefit for clients of both our networks is in the consolidation of investments and resources at the Omnicom Media Group level, such as research and media negotiations, to deliver even stronger economies of scale. We’re very excited about the opportunities ahead of us.”

David Pattison, CEO and co-founder of PHD Worldwide, said: “It’s very exciting to be expanding the PHD network. We believe there are huge opportunities for us in the growing and vibrant Middle East market”.

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