Logo

Fawcett Faces New Adventures at PHD

Sep 24, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Dominic Fawcett, PHD’s new worldwide strategy director, says he didn’t go to the Beijing Olympics this summer because he was in the process of changing jobs.
Mr. Fawcett’s career has already taken him to China, and he speaks a little Chinese. When he decided to leave his post at Zenith’s Beijing office in 1998, he did it with style, making the trip back to London with a group of friends on motorbikes with sidecars.
“It was the journey of a lifetime,” Mr. Fawcett said.
They rode along the Northern Silk Route, through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, and on into Europe.
“There were a few scary moments,” he said. They needed an intervention from Britain’s prime minister to get into Iran and were taken into custody for their own safety in Pakistan, which was in the midst of a nuclear standoff with India at the time, he said.
“I don’t think you can do that trip very easily anymore,” he said, adding that along the way the group met “some of the friendliest people in the world. It’s heart-warming the kind of generosity that people give you.”
Mr. Fawcett recently saw “Long Way Round,” a documentary about actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a worldwide motorcycle adventure, and found it a bit disappointing. He noted that Mr. Boorman spent much of the movie complaining.
“He was always going on about how hard it was,” Mr. Fawcett said. “How hard can it be to be on holiday all the time?”
Mr. Fawcett and his colleagues told the tale of their trip to an audience of 600 people at London’s Royal Geographic Society, complete with about 1,000 slides. They even raised 40,000 pounds for a charity trying to save tigers in northern India.
Mr. Fawcett originally got into the advertising business because it looked like fun. He was born in Cardiff, Wales, and his family moved around when he was a kid, following his father on power industry jobs around the United Kingdom and in Caracas, Venezuela, before setting in Amersham, the London suburb where part of Hugh Grant’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral” was shot. He moved to London, lured by stories that the ad business involved parties, girls and drinking.
“A very good friend of mine, he got a job in advertising working for Saatchi & Saatchi when he was 17 and came home and said, ‘It’s really hard work, but we have a great time.’ And I thought, that’s the kind of job for me,” Mr. Fawcett said. “Things have changed a little bit as I got older and got married, but it was a great time to be in advertising in London in the late ’80s and through the ’90s.”
Mr. Fawcett worked for a short time in telephone sales before landing a job at a small independent ad agency. He started in media at CIA Billett & Co., then moved to TMD Carat.
He moved to China with Saatchi & Saatchi and helped the agency launch its media business Zenith there. Billings grew from $4 million to $70 million in the span of 2½ years.
Business was good in China, and his girlfriend—now his wife—had followed him there from the U.K. as well. But his friends’ plans to drive back to London helped convince him it was time to leave.
He joined Starcom Motive in London, where he worked on a “campaign-of-the-year winner,” before moving on to MindShare, which had just won the Nike account.
“I decided I wanted to run that account. And I got that job,” he said.
After 7½ years, he was running MindShare’s youth group, including Nike, PlayStation, Diesel, Converse and Heineken, when the opportunity came up at sister Omnicom agency PHD.
Mr. Fawcett said PHD enjoys a stronger reputation in London than in the U.S.
Since its launch, it’s been “a company centered on planning and ideas, sort of the antithesis of the big, bulky buying agencies,” he said.
With the work he’s been doing, on the kind of brands where “you’ve got to try to out-think the competition rather than outspend them,” PHD was a good fit. “It’s an international network—they’ve got 48 offices around the world. And obviously with the backing of [Omnicom Media Group] it represents the combination of great thinking with the sort of backup that you have from a large organization. It was not too difficult a decision for me at all.”
At PHD, Mr. Fawcett will be based in London, but he expects to spend a lot of time in the U.S.
A key responsibility will be developing the agency’s communications planning process, called ETNA, and making sure agency staffers are trained to use it.
ETNA stands for Exploration, Thought Leader, Neuroplanning and Action Planning. Its emphasis on Neuroplanning, which employs cognitive psychology to study how the brain receives messages, is one area that separates PHD’s approach from other agencies’.
“These days you have to be a little bit more rigorous,’” Mr. Fawcett said. “If you’ve got super whiz kids who absolutely completely understand everything about media and the client’s business and the consumer, and then you put them through a framework that allows them to organize their thoughts, then you stand a better chance of coming up with relevant and deliverable ideas.”
At home, Mr. Fawcett and his wife have two children, an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. While in New York last week, he bought them skateboards. His daughter, formerly into all things pink, asked for a black one. Hers features a New York City skyline; his, a row of skulls.
Mr. Fawcett, who has competed in a couple of triathlons, said he loves swimming, particularly in the ocean.
Who Knew: Mr. Fawcett said the bike he rode home from China still runs and is at the home of his father-in-law, who rides it from time to time. The bike is a Chinese version of the 1937 BMW model that Steve McQueen rode in “The Great Escape.” They were “pretty unreliable,” he said, noting that between the five bikes on the trip they had to change gear boxes, exhaust valves, valve springs and about 1,000 spokes. His bike had the fewest mechanical problems. “I didn’t know a lot about bike maintenance before. I don’t know that much now, but I had to learn quite a lot on the way.”

23 Comments

  1. exemplary work. You have gained a new subscriber. I hope you can keep up the good work and I eagerly await more of the same absorbing posts. can I use a link to this article on my website please?

  2. Nice one, there is actually some worthwhile opinions on here many of my readers may find this interesting, will send a link, many thanks.

  3. Great article, I find this is tremendously helpful. Keep up the great work!

  4. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  5. Ice hockey is an interesting exercise, I like it.

  6. Thank you. Been working as an electrician for a little while now so this is useful.

  7. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  8. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  9. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  10. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

  11. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  12. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  13. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  14. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  15. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  16. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  17. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  18. Greetings. First of all – fantastic blog! Secondly this article was also good and interesting to read, but I don’t think everything you have said is real truth. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for trying and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren’t English native speaker.

  19. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  20. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  21. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  22. I like this information given and it has given me some sort of inspiration to succeed for some reason, so thanks.

  23. I do believe this really is such a disgrace! An individual bring persona for the blogosphere. You will almost always be worth it. I will still still adhere to an individual!!

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)