Weiss to Head Media at Saatchi

Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles has taken the term “all in the family” to new heights in finding a replacement for longtime media director Richard Weigand.

Weigand, a 35-year agency veteran who spent his entire career at Saatchi, is retiring and moving to Arizona. Filling his shoes at the Torrance, Calif., shop is Emily Weiss, formerly a senior associate media director. Weiss, too, has worked nowhere but Saatchi or its predecessor shops in her 20-year career.

“I’m extremely humbled by the fact that they awarded me this incredible position,” Weiss said. Of Weigand, she added, “We were similarly trained in the New York style, the understanding of reach and frequencies, the real media guts. Where we differ is Richard’s strength is tech and getting into the new media. Mine is creative media, a fully integrated approach [where] media is the foundation and lifestyle and relationships leverage into a much bigger program.”

Weiss, 41, began her career in New York, starting at Compton Advertising as an assistant media planner in 1982. She joined Saatchi here in 1988 (when it was Saatchi & Saatchi DFS) on what was supposed to be a temporary basis, handling a job for a movie studio. It became a permanent position that included work on such accounts as Yamaha Motors. In 1991, she began to work with Weigand on Toyota.

“Emily could have easily gotten a media director job anywhere in town,” said Scott Gilbert, CEO of Saatchi L.A. “She’s an extraordinarily creative media planner and a throwback to an era when loyal, industrious people [stayed at one agency]. Once she was interested in the job, we never looked outside.”

Weiss inherits a staff of 38 that works on Toyota corporate and dealer groups, the La Quinta hotel in Palm Desert, Calif., and other accounts.

Weigand, 60, was one of the best-known media executives in Southern California, overseeing media for Saatchi’s $500 million flagship client, Toyota Motor Sales USA. (Zenith Media in New York, jointly owned by Saatchi parent Publicis and Cordiant Communications, handles broadcast buying for Toyota.) Weigand moved to the West Coast from Saatchi’s New York office in 1986, and led the transfer of Toyota’s media operations from Manhattan to Southern California.

“Richard was the first media guy I worked with when I joined Saatchi in New York in 1980,” said Gilbert. “He’s the most honest person I know, and much more inventive than he appears. He was always trying to do the next thing.”