Buenos Aires-based agency Carlos & Dario, started 18 months ago by two of Argentina's best-known admen, Carlos Baccetti and Dario Straschnoy, is opening a U.S. office in Miami.
Federico Erhart, Saatchi & Saatchi's regional account and business development director for Latin America, is the director and first employee of Carlos & Dario Miami.
In Argentina, Carlos & Dario is already a thriving 50-person shop working with PepsiCo brands Quaker and Toddy, local bank Banco Industrial, DirectTV in Latin America, winery Catena Zapata and others. Dario Straschnoy previously spent 25 years at Y&R Argentina, where he was CEO and partner in the group including Y&R, Wunderman and MEC in Argentina. He left in December 2013 and started his new agency in March 2014 with Carlos Baccetti, who was a partner in the legendary Argentine creative shop of the 1990s, Agulla & Baccetti. Mr. Baccetti and Mr. Agulla met and started working together as a creative team at an earlier agency run by Mr. Straschnoy before starting Agulla & Baccetti.
At Carlos & Dario, "The clients we're looking for are more agile, fresh and committed," Mr. Straschnoy said. And because the ad world is increasingly global, Carlos & Dario added a Mexico City office seven months ago, he said, and began eyeing the U.S.
The Miami shop doesn't have any clients yet. "We're starting from zero, as we did in Buenos Aires 18 months ago," he said.
Mr. Erhart said "We're working on strategy and credentials, and are 100% in startup and new business mode."
"We don't want to label ourselves as a Hispanic or Latin American agency," said Mr. Erhart, although he acknowledged that's where the agency may start. "Eventually we'd like to do great regional or global work."
Latin American agencies are inspired by the success of shops like David and La Comunidad. WPP's David started in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, and opened a U.S. office led by Anselmo Ramos a year ago in Miami, where the agency handles Burger King's global account and work for Coca-Cola. La Comunidad, which changed its name to The Community earlier this year, started in 2001 when brothers Jose and Joaquin Molla opened offices simultaneously in Buenos Aires and Miami. SapientNitro bought the agency in 2014, and La Comunidad was named for the second time to Ad Age's A-List of the 10 best agencies in the U.S this year.
"Everyone wants to be La Comunidad," Mr. Erhart said.