“The business has changed so much,” he said. “It’s a seismic change.”
Advertising consultant Russel Wohlwerth, principle at External View Consulting Group in Culver City, said the city’s transformation into an advertising powerhouse for the digital age represents the biggest shift of talent from the East Coast to the West Coast since Lee Clow came to Chiat/Day, now TBWAChiatDay, in the early 1980s.
“New York is still the biggest home of agencies, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s the hottest,” he said. “There’s a lot of baggage there. They tend to be bigger, old fashioned, tend to be more parochial and see the world through the eyes of New Yorkers. Los Angeles is becoming a destination.”
Besides Deutsch L.A. and 180LA, other agencies have been making high-profile hires.
Anderson, who left TBWAChiatDay in New York to come to Crispin Porter, said the Los Angeles scene hadn’t been appealing to her in the past. Now, the city is dotted with “many good agencies, packed full of good people.”
Norman, new chief creative officer at TBWAChiatDay in Los Angeles, said L.A.’s new-media companies present agencies with fertile ground.
“The emergence of technology, entertainment and advertising coming together on a convergence in L.A. is pretty strong and something the L.A. office is rapidly getting their head around. And that was a big opportunity for me,” he said.
Los Angeles ascendant
Rosch , who came to Mullen’s L.A. office to lead its Acura account, had spent most of his career in New York. He said that he’s certain Los Angeles is on the rise as an ad center.
“There was a time, at least in my mind, when there were maybe three agencies to go work for in L.A.,” Rosch said. “That changed. I haven’t taken the time to count, but I imagine there are 10 to 15 pretty strong shops.”
In addition to his anti-smoking work as chief creative officer of Arnold Worldwide in Boston, Favat also led the team that conjured up Volkswagen of America’s “Drivers Wanted” campaign. He’s also worked on campaigns for Coca-Cola Co. and Converse. At 29, he was the chief creative officer for Houston Herstek Favat; Arnold bought his agency in 1999.
“Our industry is changing so rapidly,” Favat said. “I’ve worked in New York, Boston … and around the world on global accounts, but the one thing I love about L.A. is that its roots are very pioneer and aggressive. I think there’s this natural gravitational pull to Los Angeles right now, which I’m totally psyched about.”
Favat, 52, will be managing the creative team at Deutsch LA. The office, which was founded in 1995, has a staff of 490 with clients such as Taco Bell, Volkswagen, Target Corp. and Netflix Inc.
He’s proud of his past accomplishments and excited about the possibilities here.
“What really turns me on now is to assemble really smart, agile teams to attack problems in a new way,” he said.
But it was a big step for him to decide to leave Boston, where he was firmly rooted. Some people he knew were astounded. He recently had dinner with a friend in Los Angeles who told him how shocked he was to learn of the move.
“He said, ‘I’ll be honest. You completely floored me with that announcement.’”