West Coast Ad Vets Launch Motta+Morris

LOS ANGELES Ad vet Brian Morris, who spent 26 years at Dailey & Associates and rose to CEO of the shop, has returned to the market with friend and colleague Phil Motta to create the Motta+Morris agency.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Motta+Morris is positioned as a full-service agency that offers executive-level experience in an agile, efficient model. Motta is chairman and Morris is CEO. The shop also has a full-service arm in Phoenix.

“Bigger agencies are actually trying to duplicate the business model we created from day one — clients want fewer and more experienced people working on their accounts,” Morris said. “They’re tired of paying for layers of staff they don’t need, departments they can’t use, services they don’t want.

This kind of efficiency is hard for them to deliver on since they’ve built these big factories with so much overhead and so many mouths to feed. People ask me if it’s really the right time to start a new advertising agency. Yes — if it’s the right kind of agency for the times we’re in.”

Motta moved west and established the Motta Co. in 1994 after his Dallas-based employer — EvansGroup — was acquired by Publicis. His agency became well known in real estate, hospitality, gaming, restaurant, technology products and sports-marketing circles, with clients throughout the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.

Dailey & Associates had 250-plus employees and billings of more than $400 million under Morris’ reign. Honda Motorcycles, Nestlé Foods, E&J Gallo and Dole Foods were among the accounts under his supervision.

Morris was terminated in 2006 after Dailey lost its $250 million Safeway broadcast business to DDB and PHD. Bruce Miller, former vice chairman, replaced Morris as CEO of the Interpublic Group unit.

Morris was named Leader of the Year in 1996 by the Western States Advertising Agencies Association and in 2002 received the American Advertising Federation’s highest honor, the Silver Medal Award. Before forming Motta+Morris, he spent two years as president of marketing for IMI in Greenville, S.C.