U.S. Hispanic Ad Agencies Continue Double-Digit Growth

Expanded Services Target English Speakers, First-Time Advertisers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- U.S. hispanic ad agencies kept up their double-digit growth in 2006 as they lured first-time Hispanic advertisers into the market, expanded
their offerings in areas such as digital, and continued to go beyond Spanish-dominant Hispanics to target English speakers and even vie for some general-market assignments.

A sampling of the entries for Advertising Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year contest -- the winner will be announced in the Jan. 8, 2007, issue -- found U.S. Hispanic shops grew anywhere from 11% at some of the biggest agencies to 60% for hotshops such as La Comunidad, Miami. The biggest Hispanic agency, Publicis Groupe's 49%-owned Bromley Communications, San Antonio, grew 11%, as did No. 4, Omnicom Group's Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas.

Hispanic online ad spend
As Hispanic online spending grew to an estimated $150 million from $100 million last year, more Latino shops invested in digital growth. Dieste became the first Hispanic agency with a presence in Second Life. Zubi, one of the most web-savvy Hispanic shops, started an integrated marketing group called iZubi that has already done a film festival, the Mercury Latino Lens Short Film Challenge, for its biggest client, Ford Motor Co. And Grupo Gallegos added its first directors for interactive and direct marketing.

The Vidal Partnership, the largest independent Hispanic agency, continues to be a leader in content development online. The web played a major role in a humorous crusade against mediocre food for client Wendy's, presented as a make-believe benefit by imaginary Latino music stars (noalacomidamediocre.com). For Century 21, Vidal created a character called Beto Casas, a real-estate agent who helps Hispanic home buyers and likes to play dominos.

Work for bilingual and English-speaking Hispanics is becoming a bigger part of agencies' business. Creative hotshop Grupo Gallegos, expanding into nonadvertising business issues, is helping a CBS affiliate in Houston figure out how to appeal strategically and tactically to bicultural, English-speaking Hispanics.

General-market AOR work
This year La Comunidad boasted its first general-market agency-of-record assignment, for Remy Martin. And Machado Garcia-Serra, Miami, parlayed its Hispanic work for Florida Power & Light into a takeover of the power company's general-market communications efforts.

Growth is also coming from marketers who are targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanics for the first time. Farmers Insurance, at a disadvantage because rival insurance companies market heavily to Hispanics, finally entered the Latino market with a $7 million account for Interpublic Group of Cos.-backed Accentmarketing, Miami. The agency also picked up a strategic-planning assignment, a common first step for marketers testing the Hispanic market, for MacDill Federal Credit Union.

Even established Hispanic marketers are adding more brands to their spending. Accentmarketing client General Motors Corp., the No. 2 Hispanic advertiser, never put much Hispanic support behind vehicles such as the Hummer. After a campaign this year to create distinct brand images for numerous cars, Hummer sales to Hispanics rose by 57%, and Pontiac's Hispanic market share grew 10%. Pepsi-Cola, another longtime marketer to Hispanics, did its first Spanish-language work for Sierra Mist this year.
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