Six months after returning to the U.S. Hispanic agency he founded in 1995, Tony Dieste is shaking things up with 12 new hires at Dieste and an alliance with Buenos Aires-based creative Guillermo Tragant and his local shop, Furia.
Mr. Dieste, now the agency's chairman, and CEO Greg Knipp are trying to rebuild the Omnicom Group agency with data, digital, social and mobile platform development at its core.
At the same time, the agency is dismissing 11 staffers with more traditional advertising skills. Dallas-based Dieste has 110 staffers.
"What clients are asking us to do is changing," Mr. Knipp said. "We're bringing in some senior level talent to address those needs."
While some Hispanic agencies are upping their game with senior hires from the general market -- the latest, Bartle Bogle Hegarty's New York General Manager Joe Da Silva, is joining Grupo Gallegos as managing director Oct. 1 --Dieste is reaching deeply into Latin America for talent.
"Guille [Tragant] is a creative retail savant," Mr. Dieste said. "He and his creative team are working with us on key pieces of business including new business and he'll spend a good chunk of his time here."
Mr. Tragant is CEO-creative director of his nine-person Buenos Aires shop, Furia, founded in 2007, but has also worked in the U.S. Hispanic market, as a creative at Leo Burnett Hispanic agency Lapiz in Chicago.
In return, Mr. Knipp said, Dieste will help Mr. Tragant with planning and account services, in a non-equity "exchange of services."
"Nowadays you can be based anywhere and work on big regional projects," Mr. Tragant said. "That's been the case [for us] with Nike , Diageo and Coke."
In one international project, Furia commemorated Coca-Cola's 125th anniversary by coming up with 125 reasons to believe in a better world, with a video for each and a book that brought them all together. A Levi's project last year integrated retail with sustainability by recycling Levi's clothing materials into toys, with the help of customers and designers. That effort started in Argentina, then moved to Mexico, Brazil and San Francisco. Furia's latest project, for the launch of Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey's new bottle, involved climbing Argentina's 23,000-foot-high Aconcagua mountain to place the bottle at the top.
In addition to the arrangement with Furia, Dieste is hiring Francisco "Pancho" Cardenas, executive creative director at Mexico City digital agency Lead2Action and a former Dieste creative, as director for digital strategy. He starts Oct. 24, along with Pachi Tamer as mobile platform expert; Mr. Tamer is making a name for himself on Instagram with a project to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in Austin.
Dieste's biggest clients are AT&T, Nissan and Procter & Gamble brands including Head & Shoulders, Duracell and Gillette (unlike the general-market account at BBDO, Dieste's U.S. Hispanic portion of the Gillette account isn't under review).
"The solution isn't necessarily a platform," Mr. Dieste said. "It could be something in the sales organization, or a promotion. A lot of times we're taking business solutions to clients."