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adlist/13″/mike1st/mark2nd By DAN TURNER Wilshire Boulevard has become the local equivalent of Madison Avenue, with nearly every nationally recognized advertising agency concentrated on or near the boulevard. As a result, few people recognize that the San Fernando Valley has an advertising industry. As this month’s List shows, it does but don’t expect to see the likes of TBWA Chiat/Day Inc. or BBDO West in the vicinity of Ventura Boulevard. Valley ad agencies tend to specialize in the lower-profile niches of the marketing business direct response, direct mail, yellow pages and graphic arts. Still, there are a few Valley agencies that make enough in annual billings to qualify among the biggest agencies in L.A. County. Inter/Media Advertising, for example, took in $72.5 million in gross billings in 1996 to qualify as the No. 1 advertising agency in the San Fernando Valley. Encino-based Inter/Media specializes in producing and buying media time for short-form infomercials. The spots usually run five minutes or less and can be found on TV and radio; the agency does only a small amount of print work. Founded in 1974 by Chief Executive Sydney Yallen, Inter/Media also has offices in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. The No. 2 agency is TMP Worldwide, an international agency specializing in yellow pages, recruitment and Internet advertising. Its Valley offices in North Hollywood and Westlake Village together account for about $43 million in gross billings, and handle only yellow pages ads. The other agency of substantial size in the Valley is Grey Direct West, an independent subsidiary of big international ad agency Grey Inc. whose better-known L.A. office can be found on Wilshire. Grey Direct in Burbank is another electronic marketing firm, making mostly 60-second short-form infomercials (short-form infomercials differ from a regular TV commercials in that they present the viewer with an “800” number so products can be ordered over the telephone). Grey only has one other domestic office for its direct response division, located in New York. Chris LaBonge, executive vice present of Grey Direct, says he wouldn’t trade his headquarters in the Media District for offices in the more-popular Wilshire or Westside areas. “I wouldn’t want to be on Wilshire Boulevard. I don’t think it’s very attractive anymore,” LaBonge says. Many Valley agencies concentrate on entertainment marketing, taking advantage of their close proximity to such movie studios as Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and DreamWorks SKG. No. 4-ranked Jerry Johnson & Associates does most of its work on movie posters and other studio ads, for example. Other facets of the Valley’s entertainment industry also express themselves in the advertising community. As the center of the adult film industry, perhaps it’s no surprise that one Valley agency Woodland Hills-based Pacific Marketing (No. 9 on the List) specializes in advertisements for adult entertainment. Pacific Marketing officials declined to reveal the names of the firm’s clients.

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