LA Daily News: Billboard Campaign Touts New Village at Westfield Topanga

By Gregory J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News

When Matti Leshem scored the gig to create the billboard and ad campaign for The Village at Westfield Topanga he settled on a reality theme, sort of his personal love story about the city and the San Fernando Valley.

Leshem, who has lived in Studio City’s Fryman Canyon for 10 years, did not use actors or models for the photos to illustrate his “#ItTakesTheVillage” campaign for Westfield Corp.’s newest property that opens Sept. 18 in Warner Center.

He simply pitched the idea to his wife, Lynn Harris, and his circle of friends and they in turn reached out to their friends, he said.

And Leshem, founder of the L.A. brand strategy firm Protagonist, shot the photo himself.

“I don’t do that very often, but this one was so personal I couldn’t turn it over (to someone else),” he said. “It’s about the love I have for Los Angeles and the Valley. I think the Valley is the greatest place to live in Los Angeles. The Valley is the secret heart of L.A. and only serious Angelenos know that. It’s an incredible place.”

The campaign’s theme was taken from former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.”

“I was inspired by what she said a few years ago and it really fit,” Leshem said.

The Village is being branded as an open-air lifestyle destination where people can share a variety of experiences in addition to dining and shopping.

“If you look at the images they are all about people connecting with each other … and having a quiet moment, a fun moment and an intimate moment,” he said. “It’s not a typical campaign you would see for one of the malls (in which) you see a lot of shopping bags.”

It took about 18 weeks to shoot the campaign, Leshem said.

Since the Village was under construction he found locations around the city that could serve as suitable stand-ins for what the completed project will look like.

“The locations were really reflective on what you will find in the Village,” he said.

There are six billboards so far, most in the Valley, and more may be produced. The image will also appear in lifestyle magazines around the city.

“The creative campaign for The Village at Westfield Topanga was designed to depict and represent the open-air environment, natural elements and amenities that make it a fabulous social setting — in addition to a world-class shopping destination,” Anthony Sion, Westfield’s vice president of marketing development, said in an email.

Kenn Phillips, president and CEO of the Valley Economic Alliance, said Westfield should reap a big bang for their billboard bucks.

“If you look at billboards, especially those close to the freeway, they get a lot of attention. Being able to have something like that, now they (Westfield) will have a lot of people knowing about the new project,” he said.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News