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L.A. Ad Numbers Still in Big Apple’s Shadow, but …

L.A. may have almost as many advertising agencies as the Big Apple. But New York shops bring in the big bucks.

The latest available economic census data, from 2002, showed New York advertising and public relations agencies took in almost double the revenue that Los Angeles firms generated.

The figures, just as Manhattan’s skyscrapers do, may tower over L.A.’s, but that’s no cause for dismay, said Mike Sheldon, president of Deutsch LA.

“Twenty years ago, I would guess we were a third the size of New York, so now being half of New York is huge,” Sheldon said. “Deutsch LA didn’t exist 11 years ago. Today, it’s a $1.4 billion company, and eight of our nine accounts are in Los Angeles.”

Among Deutsch’s local accounts are DirecTV, GM OnStar and Sony Corp.

“I don’t think you need any more proof of vitality for the market than that,” he said.

New York’s work force in the advertising and public relations sector is also more substantial than L.A.’s.

A 2007 Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed 26,900 advertising account executives and ad managers in New York, compared with 6,600 in Los Angeles.

And New York ad execs make more money than their Los Angeles counterparts.

A New York advertising and promotion manager makes an average $121,600 annually, compared with $83,600 in Los Angeles.

“The cost of living in Los Angeles is 150 percent the U.S. Average. In New York, it’s 218 percent. So, on a relative basis, we pay well,” Sheldon said.

Nationwide, the outlook seems good for careers in advertising and public relations, according to the labor department’s 2008-2009 “Career Guide to Industries.” Employment ad-PR sector is projected to grow 14 percent by 2016.

Sheldon is confident the advertising industry will continue its upward trend. Deutsch has added three clients over the past year: Saturn, Sony and Dr. Pepper.

Rita Tateel, president of the L.A.-area chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, predicts a healthy future for PR, thanks to emerging trends.

“New media platforms are changing the way companies do business,” Tateel said.

Chicago is not far behind L.A. in revenues and work force, thanks to its high concentration of food and pharmaceutical companies, said Jerry Swerling, director of PR studies for the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.

But New York is still the titan, because of its role as media capital.

“The benefit of doing PR in New York versus other cities is that you can physically meet with the national media,” said Nick Ragone, senior vice president and director of client development for Ketchum in New York. “My guess is the same thing holds true for L.A. when it comes to the entertainment media. Proximity is everything.”

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