Agency Says Latin Market Not a 'Priority' for Marketer

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Zubi Advertising has resigned the U.S. Hispanic account for Masterfoods after six years, citing the confectionery giant’s dwindling interest in the Hispanic market.
Zubi helped Masterfoods develop caramel-flavored M&M's.

The marketer’s longtime head of Hispanic marketing, Ethnic Marketing Manager Roberto Garcia, left the company in March to join Cingular in an Atlanta-based Hispanic marketing role, and has not been replaced at Masterfoods.

Spending less than $1 million
Although most marketers are paying more attention to the fast-growing Hispanic market, Masterfoods started out as a $4 million account when Miami-based Zubi won the business in 1999 and is now spending less than $1 million, according to the agency. Zubi did campaigns for Snickers, M&M’s, Skittles, Starburst and Twix, and even helped Masterfoods develop and test a short-lived product, Dulce de Leche M&Ms, a caramel flavor popular in the Hispanic market.

“In the past four years, [Masterfoods’ Hispanic] activity has declined consistently every year,” Zubi's executive vice president, Joe Castro, said. “In the first couple years, top management were involved, and we had access to them."

'Not part of their priority'
Mr. Castro said the decision to resign the account was made while planning for next year. “It wasn’t their intention to do a lot. It’s not part of their priority.”

A Masterfoods spokeswoman did not immediately return calls for comment.

Masterfoods rival Hershey last year launched a Hispanic-targeted chocolate range under the name of Mexican singer Thalia, but has not heavily promoted the line.

Zubi, the largest independent U.S. Hispanic shop, is sixth in Advertising Age’s ranking of top Hispanic ad agencies.


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