Women to Watch 06

Sergio Alcocer

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Ask who is the hottest Hispanic creative director outside the well-known creative shops and one name pops up: Sergio Alcocer at up-and-coming Latinworks in Austin, Texas.

Just two years ago, Anheuser-Busch marketing veterans Manny Flores and Alejandro Ruelas started Latinworks with Mr. Alcocer, 38, as VP-creative services. As clients, they had worked with Mexican-born Mr. Alcocer, 38, who was their creative director for Budweiser at Castor Advertising, New York.

"We shared a vision of doing something different in the Hispanic market," Mr. Alcocer says. "People expect less from an ethnic agency. We thought about trying to do something more strategic and less stereotypical."

Appropriately for three beer guys, Latinworks opened with assignments from Miller Brewing Co. There's passion in every spot. One effort for Miller Genuine Draft shows Mexico's national soccer team going all out to prepare for the 2002 World Cup. In a very different MGD spot, a beer-sipping couple's Scrabble game evolves into foreplay as they toy with letters. The man provocatively plays the word CAMA, Spanish for bed. She deliberates tantalizingly with the letter Y before adding it to his final A to form YA, meaning "Right now."

"We liked the role of the woman," Mr. Alcocer says. "There's sexual tension, but she's in charge."

TAKING ON GERBER

The agency's second account was Beech-Nut Naturals, now marketed by Milnot Holding Corp. That assignment pitted the agency against Gerber Products Co., almost a generic name for baby food among Latinos and unbeatably identified with a cute baby. Mr. Alcocer's animated solution was to have pieces of fruit portray loving parents tending Beech-Nut jar babies.

Then the fledgling agency won a pitch last October for telecom giant SBC Communications.

As the only Hispanic agency in Austin, Latinworks eyes the general market, too. "We position ourselves as an advertising agency that happens to specialize in the Hispanic market," Mr. Alcocer says.