NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mexico's Grupo W, a leading international digital agency, is planning to enter the U.S. Hispanic market, working both with ad agencies on digital projects and directly with marketers.
Grupo W is initially opening a representative office in Miami, headed by Lynn Ponder, who will be in charge of developing new business in the U.S. Grupo W founders Miguel Calderon and Ulises Valencia will spend a couple weeks in the U.S. in November in an informal road show with Ms. Ponder to introduce the agency.
The two men started Grupo W in 1999 in their home town Saltillo, a desert city of about 700,000 people located near Mexico's business capital Monterrey. They only opened an office in Mexico City two years ago, when they began working directly with more marketers.Grupo W's clients include Unilever and Nike and local beer brand Cerveza Indio, and the digital shop has worked with agencies including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Wieden & Kennedy, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and 180 Amsterdam. Coca-Cola is a new client, and the agency is working with Buenos Aires-based Santo, an international Coke agency, on a regional campaign for the marketer. The agency is also developing the digital portion of Mexican videogame publisher Slang's U.S. launch of the game "Heroes del Ring" based on Mexican lucha libre wrestling.
Grupo W picked up a Bronze Lion at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and awards at the One Show for Digital Invaders, a promotional website for the school Grupo W runs in Saltillo to create a talent pool by training young people in digital skills (thedigitalinvaders.com). Mr. Calderon said the school has already graduated three classes totaling almost 50 students.
He said the representative office in Miami is Grupo W's first U.S. step, to be followed as U.S. Hispanic business develops with creative resources. Production will remain in Mexico, he said.
"This is completely new for us," Mr. Calderon said. "We've made goods friends at industry events but never had an opportunity to work together. We can work with agencies who have a digital idea but need production, or agencies that don't have a digital department."
Grupo W isn't the only Latin American digital agency eyeing the U.S. Hispanic market. Intacto, a digital agency in Buenos Aires that already works with some U.S. Hispanic agencies, has a representative office in Miami and is about to open one in New York. (Intacto also created the show reel for Ad Age's 12th annual Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards show held in Miami last week.)
U.S. Hispanic digital agencies are also looking south. At Miami-based Latin3, about half the agency's work comes from the U.S. Hispanic market and half from Latin America, said CEO Matias Perel. His clients include Warner Music Latin and Royal Bank of Canada in both the U.S. and Latin America, and Cablevision, Mexican bank Banamex and Cisco Systems in Latin America. Another Hispanic digital agency based in Miami, Media8, shifted its business model over the last couple years to work equally with North and South America, and does much of its work out of the city of Cordoba in Argentina.
At Grupo W, new U.S. rep Ms. Ponder has run her own film production company Peliculas Ponder, and said she has been focusing on social media lately, including a new web show she will continue to film WebCityGirls.