WSAAA Enters 2000 Reinvented

Changes Name to LAAAA; Reorganizes to Better Help Members
LOS ANGELES–As many in Hollywood do when they reach middle age, the Western States Advertising Agencies Association is getting a facelift.
The organization, founded more than 50 years ago, is reinventing itself, starting with its name. It will now be known as the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, which better describes the group’s focus, according to its leaders.
“The name change is something we’ve wrestled with for years,” said John Crosson, president of the L.A.-based organization and executive vice president/managing director of Grey Advertising’s L.A. office. “[We] knew it was time to restructure to better meet the needs of our members and the entire Los Angeles advertising community.”
The LAAAA, whose 100-plus members are mainly agency owners and senior managers, is also weighing its options for raising the profile of L.A. advertising via an outreach program–possibly a national business-to-business ad campaign.
“This is about providing the services and programs that help our agencies perform better and raising the level of awareness nationally for L.A.-based ad agencies,” Crosson said.
In recent years, the once cutting-edge L.A. industry has seen the spotlight usurped by creatively driven markets such as San Francisco.
The organization is also adopting a new format for its annual Leader of the Year award. In addition to the main honor for a single executive, LAAAA will recognize others who have helped raise the bar in L.A. across various ad disciplines. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 24; the honorees have yet to be announced.
LAAAA will continue to offer members employee training and education alternatives, savings and benefits. One of its education initiatives involves the establishment of Advertising University, building on last year’s “Adventures in Advertising” program. Training classes for junior-level staff will be offered. The organization will also continue to co-host Career Day with the Ad Club of
Los Angeles (a group with a broader industry membership) for college students.
LAAAA also plans to invite agency CEOs and other senior-level executives to periodic roundtables to discuss issues affecting the industry.
The changes follow an evaluation by an internal committee headed by Caryn Wiley, president of Wiley & Associates, Westlake Village, Calif.