Ranked by 1999 Los Angeles County billings

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Los Angeles advertising agencies had a good year in 1999, with most reporting higher billings than the previous year. Combined, the top 25 reported $5.6 billion in L.A. County billings for 1999, a 19 percent increase from 1998. The glut of dot-com advertisers, plus increased spending across the board, is credited for the growth.

Los Angeles-based TBWA Chiat/Day remains L.A.'s largest ad agency, with local 1999 billings of $1.4 billion. Like many of the biggest ad agencies in town, TBWA/Chiat/ Day is owned by a giant international holding company in this case, Omnicom Group Inc., which also owns two other companies on the list: No. 3 DDB Worldwide Communica-tions Group and No. 15 Russ Reid Co. Omnicom has been on a tear in recent years, with steadily increasing earnings and a rising stock price.

L.A.'s biggest independent agency is second on the list, Santa Monica-based Rubin Postaer & Associates. Because of its size, Rubin Postaer has long been rumored as a takeover target, but has stubbornly remained independent amid years of merger frenzy in the advertising business.

THE PACESETTER

TBWA Chiat/Day Inc.

Perennial list-topper TBWA Chiat/Day Inc. once again heads up this year's advertising agency list with local billings totaling more than twice those of its closest competitor. In 1999, the Los Angeles office of Chiat billed in excess of $1.4 billion, a jump of 15.2 percent from 1998.

The local office of Chiat/Day picked up a plethora of new clients in 1999, including a $100 million account from the International Olympic Committee, a $90 million account from USA Films, and a $40 million account from Homestore.com. Other new clients include iExchange, BizRate.com, The Industry Standard, iFilm and Weather.com.

In early 1999, Lee Clow, former chairman and chief executive, was named chairman and chief creative officer of TBWA Worldwide. Tom Carroll was brought in as the new president and CEO of the Los Angeles office.

In acknowledgment of the importance of the Internet, Chiat/Day last year launched a program that executives call "Digerati" or "the e-conscience of TBWA Chiat/Day." The goal is for all agency employees to be constantly in touch with the Internet and its applications, and to understand the most effective use of the Internet for company clients. "We have benefited from the dot-com explosion," said company spokesman Jeremy Miller. "As we find new and better ways to use the (Internet's) technology to benefit our clients, our usage will increase."

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