BT attracts PHD talent to in-house planning team

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BT has poached two senior executives from PHD to create its new in-house planning team four months after parting company with the agency.

PHD media group manager, Allison Grainger, and media director, Stuart Bowden, have left the agency to join the BT Media Team headed by Steve Huddleston.

Their move follows the decision by BT’s head of media strategy, Jon Ghazi, to leave the telecoms company to join direct marketing agency WWAV Rapp Collins Leeds.

PHD was forced to resign BT’s £30m media planning account after Yell – which was also a PHD client – claimed that it saw the telecoms company as a potential conflict (MW August 10).

A spokesman for BT confirms the moves and says: “BT valued the key individuals who worked on our account at PHD – particularly their understanding of BT’s businesses and processes.

“We have convinced the two key staff at PHD to continue to work with BT.”

Grainger was at PHD for more than seven years and Bowden had been at the media agency for two years, after joining from advertising agency, Grey.

Before resigning the account, PHD had attempted to resolve the conflict issue by shifting the BT strategic planning account, which it has held for a decade, into sister agency Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO. It is understood that Yell did not think there was enough separation between the accounts.

BT’s media buying is split between Starcom, which handles its TV, press and radio, and Zed Media, which handles online buying.

Its consumer advertising account is handled by AMV, which is responsible for the “family” ads featuring Kris Marshall. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R handles BT’s business-to-business account.

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