Los Angeles Business Journal

Eastern Ad Execs Ride High-Tech Wave

ADVERTISING: Big names move west to work with Silicon Beach. By Subrina Hudson Monday, November 18, 2013
Pete Favat at Deutsch L.A.

Pete Favat at Deutsch L.A. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Pete Favat made his name as an advertising industry power player on the East Coast thanks to work that included placing 1,200 body bags outside a tobacco company’s headquarters for an anti-smoking campaign.

After building his career in New York and Boston, he came to Los Angeles last month to be chief creative officer at Deutsch LA in Playa Vista.

And he’s not the only prominent ad exec to move here recently. Stephen Larkin was named chief marketing officer at 180LA in Santa Monica, moving from his Boston base earlier this year. Peter Rosch left Mullen’s Boston headquarters to come to the firm’s El Segundo office. Sue Anderson, co-executive creative director at Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Santa Monica, came from TBWAChiatDay in New York this year. John Norman, came to TBWAChiatDay in Los Angeles as its chief creative office from the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

The arrivals are a sign of L.A.’s rise as an ad industry hub, thanks to a boom of new-media companies in Silicon Beach and elsewhere and the growing market they present for agencies that do digital work.

“There’s more opportunity with the convergence of entertainment, automotive and the tech presence with Silicon Beach,” said Susan Franceschini, executive director of ad industry trade group ThinkLA in Culver City. “All of that kind of comes together to create this new frontier of business, especially as it relates to branding, marketing and advertising.”

Among the native agencies that have helped boost the city’s reputation is Ignited, which specializes in digital advertising. Eric Johnson, the founder and chief executive of the El Segundo agency, notes that Los Angeles has become a big source for online entertainment, specifically citing studios for YouTube channels.

“This phenomenon of YouTube content creators has blossomed here,” Johnson said. “If you want access to that … you’re going to want to do business here. It’s really been the last couple years that it’s been accelerating as you’re now starting to see some commercial successes of content made specifically for the YouTube generation.”

U.S. spending on digital advertising was forecast to hit $42 billion this year, up from $37 billion last year, according to eMarketer, a New York website that covers digital marking.

Veteran migration

Larkin was part of the Boston ad scene for 23 years – most recently he was managing director of Mullen’s Pittsburgh office although he still lived in Boston – but looked west because of the digital talent and creativity here, which he said he saw as a reflection of advertising’s role in digital content such as Web videos.

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