SMG Names Monica Gadsby CEO-Multicultural/Latin America

Will Head Both U.S. Hispanic and Latin America Divisions, Look for Cross-Border Opportunities for Marketers

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NEW YORK ( -- In one of the first top jobs to combine both Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, Monica Gadsby will run Starcom MediaVest Group's Latin American network in addition to her current job heading SMG's multicultural operations in the U.S.

Monica Gadsby
Monica Gadsby
In her newly created role as CEO-multicultural/Latin America, Ms. Gadsby will take over in January 2010 for Martha Marin, who is retiring as CEO of SMG Latin America.

Ms. Gadsby, 44, started what is now SMG Multicultural in 2000 and is one of the best-known players in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Her new job will include looking at cross-border opportunities to help develop content that works in both Latin America and the U.S., for clients that SMG handles in the two regions, such as Procter & Gamble Co., Kraft Foods, Kellogg's, Coca-Cola Co. and General Motors Co.

Ms. Gadsby said SMG's global CEO, Laura Desmond, approached her with the idea of combining the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets.

"She asked me, 'Do you think the intersection exists, and will it continue to get broader?'" Ms. Gadsby said.

That's a question a lot of agencies are asking themselves now. One of the few other networks to put a similar structure in place is DDB Worldwide, where Miami-based Juan Carlos Ortiz is president of DDB Latina, a region that includes U.S. Hispanic, Latin America and, since January 2009, Spain. DDB Latina has already won two accounts, Rosetta Stone and Kyocera Wireless, through joint U.S. Hispanic-Latin America pitches. More networks are likely to consider similar moves.

"The world is becoming a smaller place," Ms. Gadsby said. "There is a lot of possible overlap between U.S. Hispanic and Latin America. For a long time, we were so stuck on how the consumers we're targeting are different. One thing we now have in common is that technology has enabled consumer control across all borders."

Opportunities for advertisers
SMG sees great potential in the content that already flows across borders, such as the telenovelas produced by Mexico's Grupo Televisa that are the biggest ratings blockbusters for Spanish-language network Univision in the U.S. And NBC Universal's Telemundo produces shows to air in the U.S. and also sells them in Latin America.

"There's an opportunity to work more closely with those producers to give advertisers more opportunity, in an organic way, and make them part of the story," she said. "On a smaller scale, I see so much opportunity to leverage new cable channels and broadband we can distribute through the internet."

"Most of what we'll end up doing is probably stuff that hasn't even been dreamed up yet," she said. "That's what excites me."

Ms. Gadsby said the new structure will also make it easier to do talent exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America.

"Our industry is a young industry," she said. "There's a great desire to spend time in Mexico or Argentina and get deeper into the culture and language, and that desire exists in the region, too."

In the U.S., Ms. Gadsby presided over the creation of two separate multicultural media brands, Starcom's Tapestry and Mediavest's MV42. They rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 multicultural media units with 2008 revenue of $15 million for Tapestry and $10 million for MV42 from the U.S. Hispanic business that makes up the bulk of their business, according to Ad Age's Hispanic media agency ranking.

Ms. Gadsby will remain based in Chicago and set up a second office, probably in Miami, convenient for her frequent Latin America trips. She is a native of Brazil, and speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. A former Ad Age Media Maven, she was the first Media Lions judge from the U.S. Hispanic market at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

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