Jeff Alperin

Chief Executive Officer

Grey Western Division

Age: 43

Jeff Alperin wouldn’t exactly describe himself as a gambling man, but just the same he sees the insides of a lot of casinos and he has a strong familiarity with California’s lottery.

Alperin is CEO of Grey Western Division, which this year won the prestigious and highly visible California Lottery account. His firm also represents the Caesar’s Palace casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City.

The new accounts bring billings for the division’s Los Angeles office up to about $268 million a year, and to $56 million for its San Francisco office.

It’s unusual for an ad agency to manage two accounts in the same industry. But as Alperin points out, the accounts do not compete with each other.

“Those aren’t conflicting because there is no casino advertising in California, as Caesar’s Palace is only advertised as a (holiday) destination we don’t advertise the gambling there,” said Alperin, who explained that each account an agency takes on must be approved by its other clients.

“Those were okay because nobody is going to fly to Vegas instead of playing the lottery and vice-versa,” he said.

The ad division’s largest account is Lucky Markets, which brings in $40 million worth of billings a year and which Grey could only take after it parted ways with Vons in 1987.

Food products and supermarkets are Alperin’s specialty. During his first 18 years at Grey, he managed accounts for San Miguel and Dos Equis beers and Knudsen and Kern foods. He also managed accounts for Vons and Lucky before assuming the post of CEO in 1995.

“This is my area of expertise and (the Western region) is the most competitive arena in the country,” Alperin said.

Alperin’s knowledge of food distribution and packaged goods has reached the point where he has served as guest lecturer and visiting professor at the USC Food Industry Management Program.

Still, it was Grey’s acquisition of the California Lottery campaign that turned heads in the advertising world. But don’t expect Alperin to disclose any tidbits about the new campaign he’s keeping that information in the strictest confidence.

Wade Daniels

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