Deutsch/LA Taps Leader on Dr Pepper

LOS ANGELES Valencia Gayles, founder and former president and CEO of the independent minority marketing firm True Agency, has joined Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA to lead the newly won Dr Pepper account, according to Mike Sheldon, agency president.

Gayles comes to the Marina del Rey, Calif., agency as an svp, group account director. She was not immediately available to comment, but said in a statement that she is “focused on big ideas and business solutions. When I saw Deutsch’s work and met the people behind it, I realized Deutsch doesn’t just preach integration, they live it and put it to work seamlessly, regularly and effectively for all clients.”

Richard Wayner assumed the role of president and CEO at L.A.-based True in March, according to an agency rep.

At True, Gayles’ clients included Infiniti, Countrywide, Hilton Hotels and AARP. Billings rose from less than $10 million in 2002 to $40 million last year.

Prior to co-founding True in 2002, Gayles worked at numerous California agencies as an account director including Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, and Team One, El Segundo, as well as Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. Her brand experience covers Nissan, Apple, Earthlink and Lexus.

“Valencia is not only a powerhouse in the ad community, she has succeeded as a business owner and leader and brings that success to her clients,” said Sheldon in a statement.

Deutsch/LA won lead agency status on Cadbury Schweppes’ Dr Pepper in early April following a review. Traditional domestic ad spending on the brand was $35 million last year, down from $45 million in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.