Mediaedge:cia, Bravo Group Open U.S. Hispanic Media-Buying Unit

Gonzalo del Fa to Run Miami-Based MEC Bravo

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia and Bravo Group, the second-largest Hispanic agency, are announcing today the opening of a U.S. Hispanic media-buying division called MEC Bravo. Media-buying companies are increasingly eyeing the Latino market, still dominated by full-service Hispanic agencies' own media departments.
Gonzalo del Fa is moving to New York from Buenos Aires to head MEC Bravo.
Gonzalo del Fa is moving to New York from Buenos Aires to head MEC Bravo.

Until now, the only specialist media-buying unit among the top five Hispanic media buyers has been Publicis Groupe's Tapestry. Chicago-based Tapestry had 2005 billings of $382 million, at least double the size of the next-largest shop, according to Advertising Age's ranking of Hispanic media buyers. The No. 2 slot is held by the Vidal Partnership, New York, the biggest independent Hispanic agency, whose media department handled $175 million in billings in 2005.

Ranked No. 5 in '05
MEC Bravo will consist mainly of Bravo's own media billings. Bravo shared the No. 5 slot in Ad Age's ranking of Hispanic media-buying agencies at $140 million in media billings in 2005. But the move goes beyond just a rebranding of Bravo's media department, however, as media-buying agencies pursue more aggressively the multicultural buying business of their general-market clients.

"The key thing we're trying to do with MEC Bravo is bring the size, depth and experience of a global network and see how we can adapt it for U.S. Hispanic," said Michael Jones, Mediaedge:cia's Miami-based CEO of Latin America.

That could include combining media negotiations with other WPP companies, and applying tools developed for the general market, he said. One tool that might be used in the U.S. Hispanic market, for example, is Digifaces, developed in the U.S. and now used internationally. "We recruit people for custom blogs, and we moderate them," Mr. Jones said. "We've done [Digifaces] for Colgate in North America, and Dr Pepper."

Management team
Gonzalo del Fa, managing director of MEC Argentina, is moving to New York from Buenos Aires to head MEC Bravo. Mr. del Fa, who worked previously in the U.S. as a publisher for Mexican magazine group Editorial Televisa, will report directly to Mr. Jones. Also joining MEC Bravo in Miami, as managing partner, is Jorge O. Espinoza, formerly managing partner of the Latin America Global Solutions unit in Miami. Eddie Gonzalez, head of Latin America for WPP's Y&R, took on the additional role of president-CEO of Bravo when Gary Bassell left the agency in July. Mr. Gonzalez is also based in Miami.

Bravo's media department was previously run by Isabella Sanchez, VP-director of media services, who left in May to run Tapestry's Miami office as VP-managing director, and Tracy Decker, VP-media director. Mr. Jones said Ms. Decker will now run the Cingular account at MEC Bravo in New York. MEC Bravo will be based in Mediaedge:cia's offices in Miami, New York and San Francisco. Bravo and Mediaedge:cia already shared some clients, including Cingular, Payless and Chevron Texaco.

Among the other media agencies within WPP, MindShare doesn't have a separate Hispanic unit. MediaCom has a MediaComLatino group, where Alejandro Clabiorne, the media director of Grey Worldwide's Hispanic agency WingLatino, spends several days a week helping MediaCom drum up more multicultural business.
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