Vidal: five stars
The Vidal Partnership, Dieste Harmel & Partners and Bromley Communications are the three Hispanic shops graded on their 2005 performance on a scale of one to five stars, based on growth, management, creativity and marketing effectiveness. Vidal was one of only five of the 40 U.S. agencies reviewed to earn the maximum five stars, along with general market shops Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Draft, McCann Erickson and TBWA/Chiat/Day. Dieste was awarded four stars and Bromley three. A summary of each review is published in the Jan. 9 issue of Ad Age; the full version is downloadable as a .pdf from AdAge.com.
For the first time, Ad Age’s Multicultural Agency of the Year award went to an African-American shop, Chicago-based Burrell Communications. The 5-year-old award, part of the Agency of the Year report, was previously won twice by Vidal and twice by Dieste. This year other contenders included hot Hispanic creative shops Grupo Gallegos and La Comunidad, and multicultural media planning and buying agency Tapestry.
Grupo Gallegos, a 5-year-old agency based in Long Beach, Calif., grew billings by 74% in 2005, winning $26 million from seven new clients including Absolut vodka and Bally Total Fitness, and a project from Petco. A TV spot for Energizer batteries called “Mano Japonesa,” in which a man with a transplanted Japanese hand compulsively takes pictures, was one of the year’s most-awarded Hispanic spots.
Also 5 years old, La Comunidad, Miami, grew by about 30% in 2005 despite holding off on new business pitches for the first half of the year while seeking a new general manager; in October Alain Groenendaal, a longtime Leo Burnett strategy and new-business executive for Latin America, joined Founder-Creative Director Jose Molla. La Comunidad continued its streak of wonderful creative work for Citibank, Subway, VH1 and others in 2005.
Although a media shop rather than a full-service agency, Tapestry was also considered by Ad Age’s editors for Multicultural Agency of the Year. Billings grew only 5% in 2005, but revenue increased by closer to 30%, reflecting biggest client Procter & Gamble Co.’s addition of media buying to the planning assignment Tapestry already held. Tapestry excels at strategic media thinking that is still not as common as at Hispanic agencies as in the general market. Tapestry masterminded projects as diverse as a mini-novela for P&G’s Secret body spray that was imbedded in the commercial breaks of a Univision telenovela and on Univision’s Web site, and a recurring segment on English-language SiTV called “Suzuki Is All Tricked Out,” appealing to Hispanics who like to customize their cars.
Three Agencies Rated and Profiled
2005 Rating: Five Stars
THE ESSENCE: The Vidal Partnership’s hefty late-2004 new business wins from Sprint, Home Depot, and in the biggest U.S. Hispanic account move of the year, the $50 million Nissan Motor Co. account, fueled the agency’s 78% increase in 2005 revenue to $23 million, making Vidal the largest independent Hispanic shop. Billings soared by 56% to $250 million. Those wins, along with great work, clinched last year’s Multicultural Agency of the Year award from Advertising Age. To keep pace with its growth, Vidal’s staff has grown by 26% to 190 people in ‘05. Expect more growth in 2006, when the agency rolls out Heineken Premium Light Lager after testing it in 2005.
NET GROWTH: Even in a year of consolidating the late-2004 flood of new business, the agency picked up business from Kraft. The only loss was Diageo’s Johnnie Walker; the marketer opted to give all its brands to a single agency, posing a conflict with Vidal’s Heineken business.
MANAGEMENT: One of the strongest teams in the Hispanic market, entrepreneurial Manny Vidal and his two partners work with seven VPs who were promoted to managing partners in different departments and are among the stars in the Hispanic ad business in creative, media, digital, account service and other areas.
CREATIVITY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Vidal continued to do some of the best Spanish-language advertising for Heineken, and after extensive research broke its first Nissan work in November. Mr. Vidal likes to say that 90% of the people in the agency are involved in creative, and the rest work in accounting.
Dieste Harmel & Partners
2005 Rating: Four Stars
THE ESSENCE: Despite being one of the biggest Hispanic agencies, Omnicom Group’s Dieste Harmel & Partners grew revenue by 21% in 2005, with billings close to $250 million. A two-time winner of Ad Age‘s Multicultural Agency of the Year award, Dieste has a program to inspire provocative ideas, from new ways to pitch accounts to new media ideas, with winners being awarded $10,000.
NET GROWTH: Dieste’s 21% revenue growth came from new accounts like Nationwide Insurance, CompUSA, and Leapfrog Toys, plus significant growth from two of the agency’s biggest clients, JCPenney and SBC/AT&T. After February 2006, Dieste will feel the loss of the $20 million Hyundai Motor America account as the carmaker wraps up a review; Dieste declined to re-pitch for the business.
MANAGEMENT: Dieste celebrated its tenth anniversary in November with its original, extremely stable management team -- CEO Tony Dieste, President Warren Harmel and Aldo Quevedo, managing partner and executive creative director -- still in place.
CREATIVITY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Getting a jump on the World Cup, Doritos’ sponsorship of Mexico’s national soccer team and its five-city U.S. tour included a campaign themed “Ahora es cuando” (“Now is when”) with Doritos cheerleaders, ads in stadium programs with Doritos in the colors of Mexico’s flag, scooter squads, special packaging, plus all the traditional media. Just for fun, Dieste did Anheuser-Busch Cos. spots ridiculing silly cocktails.
2005 Rating: Three Stars
THE ESSENCE: Publicis Groupe’s 49%-owned Bromley Communications, San Antonio, Texas, pushed WPP Group’s shrinking Bravo Group out of the top slot for biggest U.S. Hispanic agency after the 2004 merger of Miami-based Publicis Sanchez & Levitan into Bromley. Bromley took on former Publicis Sanchez & Levitan’s biggest client, Nestle. Bromley doubled its Nestle team in 2005 as the food marketer added more brands including Nestle’s Crunch, Juicy Juice and Nesquik ready-to-drink.
NET GROWTH: After a 41% boost to billings in 2004 due largely to the merger with Publicis Sanchez & Levitan, Bromley’s growth was flat in 2005. The agency won new business from existing clients, adding Nexium from AstraZeneca and becoming media agency-of-record for its Coors Brewing Co. client.
MANAGEMENT: The agency hired leading media director Debra Nason, formerly at Bravo, as VP-managing director of media division Bromley Interlink, including the BiiG interactive unit. It also recruited Melissa Lammers, former chief marketing officer of Caribbean supermarket chain Pueblo International, to head the Miami office, along with Jorge Richa as promotions director.
CREATIVITY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Bromley launched Burger King Corp.’s Chicken Fries with an attention-grabbing commercial in Spanglish and won the Association of National Advertisers’ Multicultural Excellence Award for the Hispanic category.