Conill Named Ad Age Multicultural Agency of the Year

Latest Rankings Underscore Growing Clout of Hispanic Agencies

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- U.S. Hispanic shop Conill was named Advertising Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year today. The Saatchi & Saatchi-owned agency, part of Publicis Groupe, was chosen for a
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A Conill management team drawn largely from Saatchi & Saatchi's Latin American network has transformed a staid, old school Hispanic agency into a major contender in its market.

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combination of impressive 2006 growth, exceptional results for its clients such as Toyota, T-Mobile and Procter & Gamble, and award-winning creative work.

Growing importance
In a sign of the continuing growth in the importance of the U.S. Hispanic market, Latin agencies also earned spots in Ad Age's first-ever A-List of 10 leading agencies and a separate list of 10 agencies-to-watch, all published in the "Agency of the Year" special report in the Jan. 8 issue of Ad Age and on AdAge.com.

The biggest independent Hispanic agency, the Vidal Partnership, New York, made the A-List ranking. The 10 A-List agencies were selected based on growth, management stability and innovation, creative quality, and marketing effectiveness. They also had to be digital and direct-savvy. Vidal kept turning down invitations to pitch to focus on managing breakneck growth of recent years, but still managed to pick up new business in 2006. Although the loss of Alex Pallete, managing partner-director of account planning, in December to return to his native Spain will be felt, Vidal has a solid young team, one of the market's most talented creative directors in Mauricio Galvan, and is a leader in digital and branded content, two areas where Hispanic agencies have lagged.

Grupo Gallegos
Another fast-growing independent Hispanic shop, Grupo Gallegos, Long Beach, Calif., is on the 10-to-watch list of agencies for 2007. Grupo Gallegos, in the news recently for pulling out of the Hispanic portion of the Wal-Mart Stores review and later winning Hispanic interactive business for Target, grew billings by 27% in 2006. Its clients include the California Milk Processor Board, whose entertaining "Toma leche" campaign by Grupo Gallegos reversed a five-year decline in milk sales, up 1.1% for the first eight months of 2006. The agency also won Best of Show in Ad Age's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards for an Energizer spot.

At Conill, the Multicultural Agency of the Year, a management team drawn largely from Saatchi & Saatchi's Latin American network has transformed a staid, old-school Hispanic agency in just a few years into a strategic, creative shop that can compete with the young Hispanic hot shops and reach acculturated Latinos as easily as the traditional Spanish-dominant market. For Toyota, Conill created the first Hispanic spot to run in the Super Bowl, and took Hispanic market share of several models to new heights, winning praise from Group VP-Marketing Jim Farley for getting "to the essence of human connections."

The other two close contenders for the Multicultural Agency of the Year award were La Comunidad, Miami, and Grupo Gallegos.

La Comunidad billings
La Comunidad saw billings grow by 60% in 2006, from current clients Subway, Virgin Mobile, Best Buy and Citibank, and new wins including Walt Disney World, Miller Genuine Draft and Telemundo's cable channel Mun2. The agency is also growing beyond the Hispanic market, having picked up its first general market agency-of-record account with Remy Martin, and doing an MTV campaign that ran worldwide. La Comu, as the agency is affectionately known, also created the most-awarded campaign at Ad Age's Hispanic awards, for Virgin Mobile.

Like this year's winner Conill, last year's Multicultural Agency of the Year, African-American agency Burrell Communications, Chicago, is also a Publicis-backed shop, owned 49% by the holding company. Previous winners of the Multicultural Agency of the Year award were the Vidal Partnership and Omnicom Group's Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas.
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