How The West Continues To Win

I talked about this back in early 2015, and the momentum continues to this day. The ad trades just covered more provocative news coming out of the West Coast.

In a recent article, R/GA noted that eight of today’s top celebrities among teens are YouTube stars, and there’s no better place to have conversations with them about brands than in L.A. Omelet talks about how “L.A. is episodic” and how they focus on embedding themselves among influencers, many of whom call L.A. home.

TBWA\Chiat\Day draws on local talent to create its own internal media channel called Backslash. 72 and Sunny worked for the city in a different way by designing the L.A. 2024 Olympic Bid Committee’s official logo and site.

Did you know that Los Angeles is often billed as the “Creative Capital of the World?” One out of every six L.A. residents works in a creatively driven business. There are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than in any other city in America — and that includes The Big Apple.



Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Playa Vista and Marina Del Rey—a.k.a. “Silicon Beach”—are home to some of the hottest tech companies in the world. L.A. supplies the world with content, celebrity culture, the Kardashians (we’re not perfect!) and trends.

And all that creativity continues to fuel a renaissance in Los Angeles’s advertising scene, one that’s been noticed (and supported) by advertisers across the country.

One of the most famous illustrations ever to grace the cover of The New Yorker was Saul Steinberg’s “Flyover States” cartoon. Half the page was a drawing of Manhattan from 9th Avenue to the Hudson; the rest of the country was squeezed into the other half. Los Angeles barely made the map.

And, from an advertising industry standpoint, there was a certain amount of truth exhibited in that 1976 drawing. Back then, the No. 1 account at Los Angeles’ largest agency was Sunkist, and the biggest account at the second-largest agency was Mattel. National accounts were few and far between, and automotive accounts barely mattered.

Times certainly have changed.

When I first addressed this subject, MillerCoors hired TBWA\Chiat\Day as its creative agency for Miller Lite. The account has since moved to another L.A.-based shop, 180la. Sprint (out of Kansas City) and Pizza Hut (out of Dallas) hired Deutsch L.A. Both of these clients have had a track record of working with Midwest/East Coast agencies. Target, based in Minneapolis, doled out project work to 72andSunny.

On the media agency side, we have a keen understanding and expertise in reaching the Latino consumer. New York media agencies still dominate the national television-buying business, but Los Angeles media shops often lead the way in understanding  there are a lot of consumers “out there” beyond the Hudson River. And their purchase behavior varies greatly.

Some of us actually manage national buying on the West Coast.

Yes, we still answer to “LaLaLand.” And yes, car chases on the freeways still often interrupt the local news. And yes, we have some truly strange laws, including prohibitions against licking toads and wearing zoot suits.

But when it comes to living and working in an environment where digital media, creativity, global communications, the entertainment industry and advertising converge, it’s hard to beat Los Angeles. Today’s communication infrastructure more often than not renders proximity unnecessary. The only thing that truly matters is talent—and L.A. is filled with it.

So, on behalf of the Los Angeles advertising industry, I’d like to again extend a personal invitation to any advertiser in the country that wants to get a sense of what the L.A. agency scene has to offer—check us out. We’ll introduce you to content creators, studio executives, tech innovators, private equity financiers and, of course, the leaders of some of the best creative and media agencies in the country.
1 comment about "How The West Continues To Win".
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  1. Larry steven Londre from Londre Marketing Consultants, LLC and USC, October 26, 2016 at 3:49 p.m.

    Great commnetary, Zach. Oh, and we live in Playa Vista or Silicon Beach. I just gave a talk at USC on the "Demystification of Communication." Plenty of examples from West Coast, L.A. and Playa Vista. 

    Loved your piece and examples.  

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