The Vidal Partnership's 84% growth, to 2005 gross income of $23.95 million, up from $13 million a year earlier, propelled Vidal for the first time into the top five. In last year's ranking, Vidal was No. 11.
Vidal is the only independent agency in the top five. Each of the four major holding companies -- WPP Group, Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group of Cos. -- has a U.S. Hispanic agency among the top five. Vidal is also now No. 23 in Ad Age's ranking of all the top independent ad agencies in the U.S.; last year Vidal was No. 43 in that ranking.
The five-fastest growing Hispanic agencies among the top 25 in 2005 were Grupo Gallegos, up 91.4%; Vidal; LatinWorks Marketing, up 34.4%; Conill, up 31.8%, and Winglatino, up 30.2%.
Grupo Gallegos is both a big winner of new business and its existing clients keep upping their budgets.
"Our biggest wins last year were the California Milk Processor Board, Bally Total Fitness, and Absolut, and we have consistent projects for Zales and Petco," said John Gallegos, the agency's principal. "We do something every quarter across all three of Comcast's divisions -- video, high speed Internet and phones. Fruit of the Loom is growing fast, and Energizer and Tecate beer are good-sized and growing."
Alejandro Ruelas, managing partner at LatinWorks, attributed the agency's fast growth last year to increased spending from client Anheuser-Busch and two big client wins -- Domino's Pizza and Netspend, a major processor of pre-paid debit cards that gave LatinWorks both its Hispanic and general market account. Winglatino also had a good new business year, picking up Diageo, US Bank and other accounts.
The Hispanic agency that posted the biggest growth last year was Abece, the former Hill Holliday Hispanic shop that changed its name to Abece, Spanish for "A,B,C" in February 2006. Started in 2003, the agency's first full year was in 2004. Even so, the shop's 293% growth rate in 2005 was high. Jose Lopez-Varela, Abece's VP-managing director, said, "We expanded with our existing clients. We began working with them the year before, but it was more tactical. Last year we went through the whole planning process with them." Abece's main clients are Dunkin' Donuts and CVS pharmacies.
Multicultural agencies, including several African-American shops, account for nine of the top 100 agencies in Ad Age's ranking of all U.S. ad agencies. Independent Lopez Negrete Communications, the seventh largest U.S. Hispanic agency, moved up 17 places in that ranking, to No. 82 from 99 last year (the biggest shift in that ranking was by Vidal, in a leap to No. 71 from 133 last year).