WSAAA Honors Deutsch’s L.A. Success

Agency maverick Donny Deutsch can now say that he has truly arrived in Los Angeles.
Deutsch, chairman and chief executive of the agency that bears his name, has been named Leader of the Year for 1998 by the Western States Advertising Agencies Association.
The award recognizes the extent to which Deutsch, 41, has managed to make his New York-based agency a vital player in the West Coast ad market. The shop’s Marina del Rey, Calif., office, this year picked up the entire $250 million account of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, and has grown over the last three years into an operation that now boasts $300 million in billings.
“It’s a tremendous honor and clearly a testament to what this office and this group have done out here,” Deutsch said last week from Los Angeles.
The agency has been able to nurture the West Coast office, Deutsch said, by treating it as “another floor” of the national operation. Agency executives Mike Sheldon, Eric Hirshberg and Jeffrey Blish “have done a great job,” he added.
Honoring Deutsch is a bold move for the WSAAA. “It is highly unusual to honor an ‘East Coast’ ad guy as leader of the year in Southern California,” said John Crosson, president of WSAAA, Los Angeles. “But Donny Deutsch’s accomplishments in Los Angeles this past year have been exceptional. His contribution and commitment have established him as a true leader in our community.”
While some agency executives expressed surprise over the group’s decision, many agreed Deutsch’s success on the West Coast could not be overlooked.
“I’m always happy when people that have a noncorporate, ‘bad boy’ image prevail in our business,” said Lee Kovel, chief creative officer at Kovel Kresser & Partners in Venice, Calif. “There’s room in L.A. for a new agency that does good work, thinks out of the box and breaks some rules.”
Deutsch will be feted at a dinner event on Feb. 25 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. –with Michael McCarthy