The move has been made following the capital’s rapid rise to prominence in terms of media spend, with parent company Omnicom Media Group (OMG) saying the expansion reflects not only Saudi Arabia’s political status but also its financial and economic role.
The agency, whose sister company OMD already has offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, will support regional and global accounts as well as seek to grow its portfolio of Saudi-based clients. PHD already manages several Saudi accounts, including Bank AlBilad, Mazola Oil and Domino’s Pizza, as well as regional ones such as Arla Foods. The new office will be headed by Jean Jabbour.
“An office opening is a sign of optimism and confidence at any time but particularly now, as the region begins its recovery after the global downturn,” said Elie Khouri, OMG’s CEO for the Middle East and North Africa. “Our operations in the kingdom have proved their mettle in 2009, managing to maintain their lead and business performance overall, in spite of challenging conditions. This has confirmed our optimism and ambition for the kingdom, making the launch of PHD there not only a move for the future but also for the present.”
Choucrallah Abou Samra, OMG’s managing director for Saudi Arabia, added: “We know that Saudi Arabia is turning a corner and is now ready for something different to better communicate with today’s consumers and manage the challenges of tomorrow. PHD is the fresh approach advertisers are looking for.”
PHD launched in the UK in 1990, was acquired by Omnicom in 1999 and entered the Middle East with an office in Dubai in 2005. It has 70 offices and over 2,000 staff globally.