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New Accounts, Hires Put Deutsch LA in Top Spot

It’s almost a game of musical chairs at the offices of Playa Vista ad agency Deutsch LA: The firm has hired so many employees lately that some of them are having to share desks.

Over the past year, the agency added 142 employees and credits much of the hiring spree to winning 10 new accounts last year, including Sprint Corp. and Pizza Hut. All the new hires have made Deutsch LA No. 1 on the Business Journal’s list of largest local ad agencies. (See page 20.)

Kim Getty, president of the firm, said the agency isn’t done yet. It’s still trying to fill 30 more positions and also has plans to expand its already massive office space. The firm occupies 90,000 square feet in Playa Vista but is on the hunt for more space in the area.

“It is a full house here, and that’s sort of what’s driving the expansion of our space to make a little bit more room for our growing family,” Getty said.

She added that most of the firm’s new clients were brands that actively sought out its services. For example, Pizza Hut moved its business to Deutsch LA because the firm already worked with its sister company Taco Bell. (Both restaurant chains are subsidiaries of Yum Brands.)

But Getty said the biggest win for the agency was Sprint, which has had the biggest impact on the company in terms of hires.

As Deutsch LA continues to hire, Getty said the firm is looking to beef up its postproduction team with employees experienced in editing and visual effects. It is looking to build out its own postproduction facility, as more of the firm’s clients want to create online videos and other content.

Despite the rapid expansion, Getty said she’s not worried the company might be growing too fast.

“If you look at our growth over the last 10 years, it’s been steady,” she said. “The thing we’re more focused on is ensuring that we hire the right people who are going to add to the culture, make us better and care about everyone in the building.”

New Digs

Another local firm has also outgrown its office space.

Santa Monica marketing agency Phelps announced this month that it had finalized the sale of its 21,600-square-foot building. It’s still looking for a new home, but expects to relocate to what’s become one of L.A.’s hottest markets: Playa Vista.

Joe Phelps, the firm’s chief executive, said the decision to move was a natural part of the company’s growth.

“We’ve called Santa Monica home for almost two decades,” Phelps said in a statement. “So, we’ll miss our friends in the community. It’s a great time for us and for what lies ahead.”

The agency’s three-story building was sold to Dr. Andrew Brooks, co-founder and chief medical officer of Santa Monica tech company TigerText. Phelps will lease back the space as it prepares for the build-out of its new headquarters.

The agency had occupied its current home at 901 Wilshire Blvd. since 1997 and made several changes to the building’s interior, such as creating an open floor plan and, more recently, installing Santa Monica’s largest privately owned commercial solar array on top of the building.

Agencies & Accounts

Kirk Stewart, former executive director at APCO Worldwide in New York, has launched corporate communications firm KTStewart in Los Angeles. … Entertainment marketing agency Stun Creative on Miracle Mile has named Sharre Jacoby executive producer of Buster, its animation and design studio. Jacoby previously served as executive producer and head of operations at Pembrook Productions in Universal City. … Ad tech platform Hone in Hollywood launched this month. It helps publishers and brands create quizzes, surveys and polls. … Media production company Wondros WHAT CITY? near Beverly Hills has added director Chris Applebaum to its commercial and music direction team. … Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA in Torrance has promoted Mark Laughlin from group creative director to executive creative director. … Deutsch LA has named Troy Kelley executive vice president and group account director. Kelley previously served as chief executive of New York ad agency Naked Communications.

Staff reporter Subrina Hudson can be reached at shudson@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 251.

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