Rick Marroquin Tapped to Create Hispanic Unit for Mediabrands

Former McDonald's, Batanga Exec Will Be Charged With Bringing Current Work Under One Umbrella

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hispanic marketing veteran Rick Marroquin is joining Mediabrands to create a Hispanic business unit within the Interpublic Group of Cos.' media-holding company.

Rick Marroquin
Rick Marroquin
Mr. Marroquin, 37, was the director of marketing, U.S. Hispanic, for McDonald's Corp. for five years until he joined online Latin radio network Batanga as chief marketing officer in January 2007. Batanga closed its publications unit last fall and is expected to cut back on its marketing efforts.

Nick Brien, CEO of Mediabrands, said that there is about $300 million to $400 million in U.S. Hispanic billings now at Initiative, which does Hispanic work for marketers including Home Depot, Hyundai and Kia; and at Universal McCann, which works with Sony, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft Corp.

"Hispanic specialists are baked into the general-market teams, and at Interpublic's [Hispanic] agencies Accentmarketing, Casanova Pendrill and Siboney," said Mr. Brien. "Rick is developing a business plan. I'll give him the best people, make sure he has the tools and technology he needs."

Catching up
Most other media agencies have set up their own U.S. Hispanic or multicultural divisions in the last few years. Publicis Groupe's SMG Multicultural has led the effort with more than $1 billion in multicultural billings, divided between Tapestry, which serves Starcom clients, and 42 Degrees at MediaVest. Other examples include Omnicom Group's OMD's OMD Latino and Mindshare's Mindshare Multicultural. Interpublic has lagged behind.

"Initiative and Universal have been doing work in the Hispanic space but it's never been put under one umbrella, and there's never been a dedicated group to deliver great Hispanic work," said Mr. Marroquin, who will be managing director of the new Hispanic operation. He is hunting for a creative name for the new unit, which he says will definitely not be called Mediabrands Multicultural.

"I'm also charged with bringing strong insights and thinking about Hispanic consumers into Mediabrands," he said.

Mr. Brien said Mediabrands is starting by addressing Hispanic, but will add other ethnic segments. "I found Rick first," he said.

What he brings
Mr. Marroquin, he said, combines passion, cultural knowledge of the Hispanic experience, and a fantastic blend of experience as a client, publisher and agency exec.

Before joining McDonald's in 2002, he spent five years as an account supervisor at U.S. Hispanic agency Alma DDB, then called Del Rivero Messianu. He was the first marketing executive hired at Batanga. Mr. Marroquin hasn't worked at a media agency before but he's very familiar with that business.

"I've learned a lot by osmosis from the person I'm married to," he said.

His wife, Elena Marroquin, is senior VP-director of strategy at Tapestry, the multicultural media specialist for Publicis Groupe's Starcom and the largest among the multicultural media shops.

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