|WHY HE WAS CHOSEN:
"One challenge facing the general market is agencies went into silos, and clients have to become the glue that brings all the agencies into one environment," Mr. Mendez says.
In the Hispanic market, he and Vidal are the glue so his grateful clients don't have to be.
"What we bring to the table is insight," he says. "We live and breathe the [Hispanic] market and provide marketing solutions completely tied to the rest of [Vidal's] creative, promotions, direct and digital teams. We all sit at one table."
"Concierto Clandestino," for instance, grew out of the creative team's insight that young Hispanics would love to be concert or club promoters. That led to a reality show on NBCU's Telemundo in which contestants competed to be the next concert promoter, arranging performances in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York starring well-known Latino artists. Nissan and Sprint Nextel were involved from the beginning.
"It was [the agency] developing the show and taking it to the network with clients already involved," says Regina Smith, Sprint's media manager. "His team showed not just street savvy but business savvy and marketing savvy."
Mr. Mendez, 37, joined Vidal in 2003 after almost a decade at McCann Erickson, setting up a strategic-media-planning unit in Mexico, followed by the rest of Latin America.
One client confessed to throwing a dinner party so a group could gather to watch Mr. Mendez as a contestant on CBS's "Amazing Race" reality show earlier this year. (His laid-back Cuban-American duo, Team Cha Cha Cha, finished fourth, thanks partly to his penchant for shopping stops.)
His own reality-TV stint behind him, Mr. Mendez is developing new projects for Vidal's clients and inventing a return-on-investment modeling tool for the Hispanic market.