DDB Taps Ortiz to Handle Latin America, U.S. Hispanic Markets

Joins Other Shops, Marketers Mining Cultural Similarities

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- DDB Worldwide has hired a single person, Juan Carlos Ortiz, to head operations in both Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market for the network. Mr. Ortiz, 39, was Chicago-based co-president of Leo Burnett North America.
Juan Carlos Ortiz
Juan Carlos Ortiz

Ad agencies and marketers often talk about finding synergies between Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, but few have seriously tried it.

"The two markets are similar in more ways than they are apart -- similar language and culture and ability to use resources," said Chuck Brymer, president-CEO of DDB Worldwide Communications Group.

Several U.S. Hispanic agencies already work closely with Latin America. Grupo Gallegos, an independent shop based in Long Beach, Calif., opened a Buenos Aires office earlier this year to take advantage of Argentina's hotbed of creative talent without having to deal with immigration restrictions.

At least one marketer, Coors Brewing Co., is uniting Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market in a dual role similar to that of Mr. Ortiz. Last year Mauricio Cardenas took on the role of chief officer-U.S. multicultural and Latin America, and began working with Paul Mendieta, who holds the title of marketing director-U.S. Hispanic and Latin America. This past July, Mr. Cardenas, who was the general manager for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean market, moved to Coors' Golden, Colo., headquarters.

At DDB, Mr. Ortiz will move to Miami and start his new job as president of the expanded region in January 2008. He'll work with DDB's U.S. Hispanic agency, which was restructured several months ago under a new name, Alma DDB, and with DDB's Latin American network, which Mr. Brymer said is growing by about 10% a year.

"From a business perspective, it's smart to have this bridge from the U.S. to Latin America," Mr. Ortiz said. "Synergies are everywhere -- in creative, talent and strategy, but the most important one is culture. And there are a lot of companies in Latin America getting into the U.S., and a lot of great talent in Latin America."

There are also some shared clients, like McDonald's Corp, which works with Alma DDB in the U.S. and different DDB units in Latin America.

Until this move, Bogota-born Mr. Ortiz had always worked at Leo Burnett, starting as an assistant copywriter at Burnett in his native Colombia. He worked his way up to creative director, then general manager before moving to Chicago in 2002 as a creative director. He returned to Latin America in 2005 as president for Latin America, and took on the co-president's job for North America earlier this year.

Steve Burton, who previously was president of DDB for Latin America, remains in the new role of chief operating officer for the region.
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