Former Head of WPP's MendozaDillion Named President of Santiago

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NEW YORK ( -- Ingrid Otero-Smart, a well-known Hispanic agency executive and former president of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, is joining Hispanic agency Anita Santiago Advertising today in the new post of president.
Ingrid Otero-Smart has been named president of Anita Santiago Advertising in Santa Monica, Calif.

Ms. Otero-Smart was president and chief operating officer of WPP Group's MendozaDillon of Irvine, Calif., until the agency was merged in July with WPP's Mosaica to form MosaicaMD. Most of the MendozaDillon staff was laid off.

Head client services
Ms. Otero-Smart said she will head client service and oversee running the agency with CEO Anita Santiago, who has a creative background, including several years spent writing "telenovelas" in Venezuela. The agency, started by Ms. Santiago in 1987, is based a block from the beach in Santa Monica, Calif.

“We think this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to join forces, with the combination of our two backgrounds and skills,” Ms. Santiago said.

New business will be a priority.

“One of the things we’ll do as I relieve Anita of some of her day-to-day duties will be going out and getting new business; we’ll be doing it together,” Ms. Otero-Smart said. Even during MendozaDillon’s final year, when speculation was rife that the agency would be closed or merged, she managed to win business from Cingular and Masterfoods.

No. 32 Hispanic agency
Anita Santiago ranks No. 32 in Advertising Age’s ranking of the top 50 Hispanic ad agencies. The agency reported 2004 revenue of $3.96 million, up just 0.8% from the previous year. The agency’s entry in the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies’ directory lists only one new account won since 2002, the Ikea North America business in 2004. The agency’s biggest clients are Wells Fargo Bank and Ikea, Ms. Santiago said.

Although there are a handful of Hispanic agencies based in California that are growing fast and gaining a national reputation, like Long Beach-based Grupo Gallegos, the most dynamic Latin shops tend to be in Texas, Miami and New York, while California shops struggle to win national accounts. Among the top 50 Hispanic agencies ranked by Ad Age, 11 are located in the Los Angeles area and averaged 9.5% revenue growth to $57.12 million last year.

New York Hispanic shops
Other regions all averaged above 20% revenue growth last year. New York is home to nine of the top 50 Hispanic shops, but they are the biggest group by growth and total revenue, growing an average of 34.2% in 2004 to total revenue of $87.69 million. The next biggest market is Miami, where 11 agencies rank in the top 50 and grew by an average of 26.5% to revenue of $77 million in 2004.

Competition continues to grow in the Hispanic market. Puerto Rican agencies have begun eyeing the U.S. mainland’s bigger Spanish-speaking market. Puerto Rico’s San Juan-based Lopito, Ileana & Howie is starting a New York agency for the U.S. Hispanic market called Azafran (the Spanish word for the spice saffron). And other Spanish-speaking countries are looking at the U.S., too. Spain’s Barcelona-based creative shop S,C,P,F, owned by WPP Group, is opening S,C,P,F America in Miami to target the U.S. Hispanic market.

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