LatinWorks and GSD&M Execs Open Sibling, a Multicultural Shop

Founders Say It Won't Compete Directly With LatinWorks

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Executives from two Omnicom Group shops in Austin, Texas, are opening a new multicultural agency together to target Hispanic millennials.

And that's why it's called Sibling. The new agency is the brainchild of Alejandro Ruelas, co-founder, managing partner and CMO of leading Hispanic shop LatinWorks; former LatinWorks Creative Director Rafael "Rafa" Serrano; and GSD&M CEO Duff Stewart.

Like the entrepreneurial LatinWorks itself, which is only minority owned by Omnicom, Mr. Ruelas and his LatinWorks co-founder Manny Flores will own a majority share in Sibling, with a 49% stake for GSD&M.

Sibling co-founders Mr. Ruelas and Mr. Stewart will keep their jobs at their respective agencies; Mr. Serrano will be fulltime at Sibling, which will rent space from GSD&M.

The impetus for the shop was to tap into insights for what Sibling's execs call an evolved mainstream, and to build an agency that can better market to multicultural consumers who are defying traditional conventions, its founder said. "The marketplace is genuinely changing in dramatic ways," said Mr. Ruelas. "Some marketers today treat the marketplace as if it's still functioning under the traditional American mindset, where they talk about multiculturalism from a diversity perspective, but not from a growth perspective. Some marketers are changing, but not rapidly enough."

It's not just marketers that need to understand changing multiculturalism. A general market agency and even a traditional Hispanic agency may not have the market knowledge to reach today's multicultural consumers, particularly millennials, he said.

The new shop has been in a sort of beta-testing period since the idea originated last year, said Mr. Stewart, creating multicultural work for GSD&M clients like Southwest and Marshalls (now a former client). After operating under the GSD&M umbrella, Sibling is branching out this month as its own agency, and recently picked up the multicultural business for GSD&M client Popeyes.

"In the U.S. for the longest time, the way you assimilated into American culture was by walking away from your own identity," said Mr. Ruelas. Today, the influential Hispanic millennials "not only claim their role as Americans, but they refuse to do it at the expense of their Hispanic identity."

"Understanding all of this is a moving target," he said. "People used to refer to it as the new American mainstream, but we refer to it as the evolving American mainstream."

Sibling is likely to function partly as a conflict shop for LatinWorks, which is already shut out of numerous categories thanks to a client list that includes Anheuser-Busch, Domino's Pizza, Mars, Lowes, PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark and Target.

LatinWorks is one of the biggest U.S. Hispanic agencies, and has been both Ad Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year and on the Agency A-List.

Mr. Serrano was a creative director at LatinWorks for three years, and has also worked at Wieden & Kennedy and Hispanic shop Bromley Communications. For the last year, he's been working on the Sibling project at GSD&M.

"Rafa is going to be our Sergio," said Mr. Ruelas, referring to Sergio Alcocer, one of the top creatives in the U.S. Hispanic market and LatinWorks' president and chief creative officer .

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