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Spain's Leading Independent Creative Shop

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NEW YORK ( -- WPP Group's Red Cell network is on the verge of buying Spain's leading independent creative shop, Madrid-based Sra. Rushmore. The deal has taken longer than expected to close as WPP has fought off rival holding companies, believed to include Publicis Groupe, eager to acquire the high-profile creative shop known for its sense of humor.
Sra. Rushmore is widely acknowledged as Spain's most creative ad agency and is famed for the humor in its work.

Desirable account roster
Sra. Rushmore's desirable account roster includes the Coca-Cola Co. -- which is also one of the biggest accounts at New York-based WPP shop Berlin Cameron/Red Cell -- and Nestle's Nestea.

Andy Berlin, chairman-CEO of the Red Cell network, said, "Sra. Rushmore is well-regarded. But it is not the policy of WPP or of us to comment until a deal is done."

Red Cell's existing Spanish agency, Delvico Red Cell, the result of merging Delvico Bates into Red Cell after WPP bought Bates in 2003, is described as a solid agency but, in the words of one WPP executive, "not the best in the market."

Repositioning a network
Red Cell is trying to position itself as a creative network, rather than as WPP’s underdog fifth network, after JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and, since WPP acquired Grey Global Group, Grey Worldwide. Spain, one of Europe’s five top markets along with the U.K., Germany, France and Italy, has lagged for the network. Red Cell bought London shop HHCL last year, and will try next to fix its presence in Germany, although with little to buy in Europe’s largest market that will probably be done through hiring.

Spain’s Sra. Rushmore (pronounced "Senora Rushmore") opened in 2000 as a breakaway from Omnicom Group's BBDO, Madrid. The agency is whimsically named after an old woman (played by an American actress) who starred in an award-winning Pepsi-Cola campaign created while the agency's founders were still at BBDO. A visit to the agency’s bilingual Web site,, begins at a heavy door with the name plate “Sra. Rushmore.” Ringing the doorbell brings a chuckling Sra. Rushmore to the door. She bids visitors to enter an old-fashioned house. In the living room, a click on family photos in heavy frames introduces the agency’s founders: President Roberto Lara, who will be a film judge at this year’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival; Executive Creative Director Miguel Garcia Vizcaino; and Creative Director Marta Rico.

Commercials in the kitchen
TV spots are in the kitchen cupboards, and clicking on the bathtub reveals why the edgy agency identifies with the fictitious character: "That outward peaceful pensioner appearance hides a personality with a very sinister side."

The Sra. Rushmore deal is not unlike WPP’s acquisition of Spain’s other hot independent shop, Barcelona-based S,C,P,F. Like Sra. Rushmore, the four S,C,P,F partners broke away from Delvico Bates and started their own agency in 1996. WPP bought a 30% stake in 2000, and acquired the remaining 70% at the end of 2004. S,C,P,F, has a relationship with JWT, sharing some clients, such as Vodafone, but operates independently.


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