ThinkLA Honors 2 Deutsch Executives

LOS ANGELES Recognizing the agency’s dramatic resurgence in 2006, ThinkLA will award its leader of the year prize to Deutsch/LA co-presidents Mike Sheldon and Eric Hirshberg.

ThinkLA is a consortium of organizations including the L.A. Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the magazine representatives industry association.

Both executives are past recipients of the honor. Sheldon was voted leader of the year in 2000; Hirshberg won the prize in 2001.

“It is a reflection of our big successes in 2006, and of a partnership that will be 15 this year,” said Sheldon. “It is nice to be recognized for what has been a great business and creative marriage.”

“We had eight years of rock-and-roll growth, then we hit a big bump,” said Sheldon. “But we stuck to our knitting and what we knew we were good at doing. 2006 was one of the best years ever. It was a vindication that we are pretty good at what we do.”

Indeed, last year represented a return to form for the Interpublic Group shop that had been struggling in the previous 12 months.

In 2006, Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., won major assignments from General Motors (for both its Chevrolet nameplate and GM’s warranty plan), as well as new business such as Helio and a return engagement with DirecTV.

“There were a wide range of people nominated by their peers in the industry, and duplicate nominations for Eric and Mike,” said Paul Andrews, a member of the ThinkLA executive committee. “They are both smart, dedicated and true leaders, not only in the [local] ad community, but from a nationwide perspective.”

Added Hirshberg, who serves as the shop’s CCO, “The years we won it separately, we both said the same thing, that it didn’t feel right without the other partner. It will be great to be standing on the stage together, because that partnership is what makes the agency run.”

He continued, “Getting momentum is hard, keeping momentum is harder. But getting momentum back is the hardest thing of all. I’m proud of our gang. With five new business wins they were vindicated for sticking around. It is a testament to an incredible culture.”

The ThinkLA awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.