MASTERFOODS TO START HISPANIC REVIEW FOR CANDY BRANDS

Longtime Agency Zubi Resigned Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Masterfoods plans to start an agency review and pick a new U.S. Hispanic shop for its confectionery brands as soon as possible, following the resignation of its longtime Hispanic agency Zubi Advertising earlier this week, Masterfoods’ vice president of marketing, Michele Kessler, said.

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In resigning the business, Zubi cited Masterfoods’ dwindling interest and investment in the U.S. Hispanic market, saying the account had dropped to less than $1 million.

“Our snack brands are very committed to the Hispanic market,” Ms. Kessler said. “From last year to this year spending has increased by 19% and the planned increase for next year is significantly above that.”

The company has not replaced its head of Hispanic marketing, Ethnic Marketing Manager Roberto Garcia, who left the company six months ago, and is abolishing that position.

“We’ve made the decision to embed responsibility for ethnic marketing in the brands,” Ms. Kessler said.

There are no plans to add Hispanic brand managers.

“We have some expertise in Hispanic marketing across our business,” she said. “The people who are there [at the brand level] will pick up that responsibility.”

She said the Hispanic agency review will begin “pretty immediately and be completed as quickly as possible.”

“We have a shortlist based on some of our current agencies’ recommendations of Hispanic agencies, but we’d like to look a little beyond that,” she said.

Mr. Garcia joined Cingular in March in the new Atlanta-based post of executive director of Hispanic marketing, with an 11-person department just at the headquarter's level. Mr. Garcia said that in his new job he is responsible for three areas: advertising and communications; acquisitions and channel management involving retail and local promotions; and customer lifecycle management, or retention strategy.

“They gave me the mission of dominating the Hispanic market,” Mr. Garcia said.

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