Interactive Ad Bureau Names 10 Hispanic Pioneers

First 'Pioneros' Awards Honor Online Marketing Efforts

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- The Interactive Advertising Bureau will name 10 online Pioneros, or industry pioneers, this week in an effort to promote Hispanic online media.

The winners of the first Pioneros award will be honored in a testimonial campaign in 2006 to demonstrate how marketers and agencies are using Hispanic online advertising effectively and growing that market.

Interactive ad spending is growing rapidly in the Hispanic market but totaled only about $60 million

Paul Suskey
this year, although that figure rises closer to $100 million if related online spending like site development and e-commerce is included, said Paul Suskey, co-CEO of Miami-based Media 8, and one of the IAB's Pioneros. He forecasted growth of about 20% in 2006 for the Hispanic online industry, and close to 30% for his own agency.

Four of the Pioneros are from full-service Hispanic ad agencies, one is from a multicultural media-buying shop, and three started their own Hispanic interactive agencies. One is a marketer, and one runs a Hispanic Web site.

The honorees are:

  • Eugenio Bryan, HispanicAd
  • Alberto Ferrer, Vidal Partnership
  • Anne Howard, La Agencia de Orci
  • Jorge Mercado, Accentmarketing
  • Gilbert Monge, Century21
  • Debra Nason, Bromley Interlink
  • John Santiago, Media 8
  • Marla Skiko, Tapestry IP
  • Paul Suskey, Media 8
  • Lee Vann, Captura Group

“We wanted innovators, strategic and creative thinkers, and people who at times had to take risks,” said Liz Sarachek Blacker, senior VP-media at One Economy who chaired the IAB’s Los Pioneros subcommittee. “We used the same criteria to evaluate all the candidates nominated.”

One of those selected from about 300 nominations for 50 different people was Gilbert Monge, director of interactive marketing at Century 21, where

Gilbert Monge
he is in charge of all the real-estate company’s online media. He is the sole marketer among the Pioneros. A former Realtor who got 90% of his business from the Spanish-speaking community before he joined Century 21 in 1998, Mr. Monge oversaw the development of the company’s Spanish-language Web site,, as well as banner ads created by the Vidal Partnership that won a Bronze award in Ad Age’s Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards this year.

His team also produced a Web site for Hispanic Heritage Month in September highlighting the cultural contributions and achievements of Hispanics.

Marla Skiko was promoted in July 2005 to VP-director of digital innovation at Publicis Groupe’s

Maria Skiko
multicultural media group Tapestry, Chicago. She was previously director of investment, managing negotiations and spending for Tapestry clients such as Kraft, Nintendo, Hanes and Disneyworld. When she was promoted last summer, Tapestry IP was created, bringing into Tapestry the interactive function previously handled only at sibling Starcom IP.

“We know the [multicultural] consumer segment,” she said. “We’ll do VOD, mobile and more broadband.”

In one project that integrated online and offline media, Tapestry IP worked with Spanish-language TV network Univision to create a mini-telenovela for Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret body spray. Five one-minute episodes aired during commercial breaks in a popular Univision novela this fall, but they could also be viewed on Univision’s Web site, where there were more photographs and information about the characters from "El Secreto de Jazmin," just as with a real Univision telenovela.

“We’ll try and do more things like that, with a couple other P&G brands,” Ms. Skiko said. “The next one will probably be in mid-January.”

Alberto Ferrer is building one of the largest digital media departments at a Hispanic agency as VP-director of direct

Alberto Ferrer
and digital marketing at the Vidal Partnership, New York.

Mr. Ferrer has a background as both a marketer and a direct marketing and digital expert in the general market. At AT&T, he managed acquisition and retention efforts for U.S. Hispanic customers, then worked at WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Direct on Kodak and Wunderman, leading the Dell Computer business, and at Citibank for the Latin America market. He created an interactive marketing department at Wunderman.

Jorge Mercado, digital marketing manager & media supervisor at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Accentmarketing

Jorge Mercado
Miami, is the youngest Pionero. At Accentmarketing since 1999, he is responsible for broadcast as well as interactive media but has found digital media particularly effective in reaching elusive targets like the young adult Hispanics the U.S. Navy, a client, is trying to reach.

“The Internet fills a void,” Mr. Mercado said. “They feel comfortable in English or don’t consume Hispanic media, but they’re on sites like checking out music or researching Hispanic celebrities.”

Debra Nason, VP-managing director, Bromley Interlink, the online unit of the largest U.S. Hispanic agency, Publicis Groupe’s Bromley

Debra Nason
Communications, San Antonio Texas, has been a Hispanic market media executive for 18 years. She worked for several general market agencies that wanted to create Hispanic divisions, then became president of RedClick, one of the first companies specializing in e-marketing to U.S. Hispanics.

She joined WPP Group’s Bravo Group to develop an interactive unit, Bravo 2.1, to do integrated online work for clients including Sears, Visa, The New York Times and AT&T Wireless. She joined Bromley in January.

Eugenio “Gene” Bryan is the CEO of, a 6-year-old Web site for the U.S. Hispanic

Eugenio Bryan
ad market, and sibling site, started last year for Puerto Rico, where Mr. Bryan was born. He has also started doing Webinars, Web-based seminars. An entrepreneur from the beginning, Mr. Bryan owned Puerto Rico’s first rock and roll pub. He joined WPP's Young & Rubicam as a media planner, worked at several Hispanic media sales companies in the 1980s and 1990s, and is now also president of media rep Lotus Entravision Reps.

One of the most recognizable figures in the U.S. Hispanic media industry, Mr. Bryan is a familiar face at most Hispanic conferences and events.

John Santiago and Paul Suskey co-CEOS of Media 8 Digital Solutions, Miami, founded their

John Santiago
agency in 2001. The agency’s business is split between working directly with marketers and working with about half of the top 10 Hispanic agencies, which don’t always want it known that Media 8 is acting as their digital department. Interactive budgets are growing. One Media 8 client’s interactive budget was just $60,000 the first year. Several years later, it’s more than $1 million. The travel sector in particular is growing; Media 8 works for Mexicana Airlines, Starwood Hotels and Hertz, Mr. Suskey said.

“A trend we’ve seen lately is a significant amount of investment in development,” he said. “Before it was just campaigns, but now they’re adding customer service in Spanish, and building Hispanic portals that before were just English or very little Spanish.”

Lee Vann started Hispanic online solutions firm Captura Group, San Diego, in 1999. At Captura,

Lee Vann
he has led Hispanic interactive initiatives for Ford Motor Co., Philip Morris USA, Pfizer, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Red Lobster. He recently started a nine-month project for the federal government to redesign the Spanish-language portal that directs Hispanics to thousands of government sites.

“This is the starting point for Hispanics to find government sites, and to send them to various agencies,” Mr. Vann said. “About 25% to 30% of government sites have Spanish, which puts the government ahead of the corporate world.”

Anne Howard
Anne Howard is from a full-service Hispanic agency, La Agencia de Orci, Los Angeles, where she is director of online services. She has been at the independent Hispanic shop for five years, doing online work with Honda, Verizon and other clients.



Most Popular
In this article: