Winner and Still Champion

Like the city itself, the Los Angeles ad crowd is pretty mellow, but not without a tinge of aggression simmering below the surface. How else to explain the body slams and sucker punches at the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Associa tion’s Leader of the Year dinner?

Honored this year were Deutsch/LA’s Eric Hirshberg, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Scott Gilbert, and davidandgoliath’s David Angelo and Skip Sullivan (shown here, with LAAAA chief Rick Carpenter of DDB). Angelo and Sullivan’s thanks came in the form of a wrestling match, the “Thriller in Beverly Hiller,” pitting a wee “David” against a muscle-bound giant, both in togas. The feel-good script called for the little guy to get whooped good—until his “mom” slipped him a slingshot.

Hirshberg first thanked his father, Nissan design guru Jerry Hirshberg. “Dad,” he said, “I have learned more about being a great creative director from you than any other creative director I’ve known. And Mom, I’ve learned more about being a great person from you than any shrink I’ve had—and, thanks to both of you, there have been many.” He also thanked clients on hand. But of the absent J.D. Edwards, he teased, “If you want your ass kissed, you have to show.”

Gilbert’s tone was more sober. He commented on Sept. 11 and showed a video of a huge American flag being unfurled on Saatchi’s office building. As the crowd warmly applauded, one execu tive was heard to joke, “He’s just trying to make the others look bad.”