Stevens Heads Production at Saatchi

LOS ANGELES Damian Stevens has joined Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi as director of the broadcast production department, the agency said.

In his new position, Stevens, who had been a freelancer, will oversee long- and short-form video projects and Internet-based productions, as well as the integration of branded content, for the agency’s principal client, Toyota Motors.

Stevens, 34, replaces Damon Webster, former director of advertising production, who left the Torrance, Calif., agency last December. He reports to chief creative officer Steve Rabosky and executive creative director Harvey Marco.

“Toyota is in a position to do great, innovative spots,” said Stevens. “I’ve been impressed with the work they’ve been doing. My relationship with Harvey and Steve sold me on coming here. And where the client wants to go with ‘Moving Forward’ will require innovative thinking and nontraditional advertising. My personal passion on that subject is completely in sync.”

Stevens, most recently a freelance producer for Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA on Mitsubishi spots, started his career as a producer for Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding in Los Angeles and Irvine, Calif., working on Mazda.

He has also worked with Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., and Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco. For the later, he produced ads for Saturn and America West. Stevens ran the Los Angeles “West Wing” field office of Publicis Groupe’s Fallon, where he first met Marco, and won Emmy Awards for the Errol Morris-directed PBS “Stay Curious” campaign (“Photo Booth” and “Light”).

He also brings significant experience from the production side to the new job, running Moxie Pictures for two years as executive producer, during a period when Cameron Crowe, Jim Sheridan and Wes Anderson were directing spots for clients such as Miller Genuine Draft and Gap; and executive producing for Jeff Gorman Films on spots for Fox Sports, Geico, Alaska Airlines and Ikea.

“The demand for unique ways to communicate our client’s brands is clear,” said Marco. “From working with Damian in the past, I am confident he can help take it to the next level.”