OMD Media Direction


Founded in 1996 by Josh Dovey and Gary Westwater, OMD has in just over a decade grown into South Africa’s largest media agency. Total billings are in excess of R3bn, with a staff compliment of 160 in SA and 48 at its four other African operations. OMD is part of the Omnicom network, one of the world’s largest and most influential media communications specialists, investing billions of dollars in media through 90 offices in 55 markets.

Our strong regional offices (JHB, Durban & Cape Town established in 1998) ensure consistent servicing levels for all OMD’s clients, with the same access to international trends and best practice via the global network. That’s been recognized by ratings and research company RECMA, who have placed OMD as SA’s top media agency for the past four years.

In the late nineties – as borders and markets in Africa began opening up and OMD became increasingly exposed to multinational clients – it became evident that other African offices would be needed to service clients’ requirements. Dovey established OMD Nigeria and Kenya (2004), followed by an office in Ghana (2007) and, most recently, this year in Uganda.

To assist “in country” African operations with media buying and co-ordination, a highly specialized and experienced Africa Division, based at OMD Johannesburg, was born. The unit handles co-ordination throughout the continent for a number of blue chip advertisers.

There were also developments on the SA front. “We realized some years ago that we were limiting our growth by only operating one brand in the SA market. Most other global networks (WPP, Interpublic, etc) have at least two separate media agency brands”, says Dovey.

“So in 2006 we launched PHD, under the OmnicomMediaGroup banner. Focusing strongly on a personalized service approach to clients it’s achieved remarkable success in a relatively short time”.

Digital media will be a major growth area. “Looking at Europe, the United States and the Far East, broadband Internet has a 60% to 70% penetration of homes. Where that happens people are consuming media via that gateway – to the extent that, in Britain for example, digital is now bigger than radio in terms of ad revenue”.

IN SA, radio still takes a 12% share of all ad revenue, while the Internet takes less than 1%. “So the potential for digital to increase from under 1% to double digits is significant”, Dovey says. “That will only happen when it’s available in more than 6% of homes – which will be as s oon as the cables are laid, costs drop and Government support kicks in. Just as there’s TV and radio in every home there should be access to broadband and the Internet in every home.