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U.S. jeans marketer Wrangler liked its pan-European agency TBWA's work so much that TBWA was first choice last year when Wrangler decided to appoint a single agency for Latin America.

But TBWA didn't have an office south of Mexico City, so the business went to Ammirati Puris Lintas. Wrangler's first pan-regional campaign, created in Chile, breaks this spring.

"I couldn't give [Wrangler] what they wanted," said Robert Rosenthal, exec VP and director of Latin America at TBWA Chiat/Day, New York.

Stragglers in the international agency fraternity are finding that Latin America is the missing piece to a global network. As more clients assign business on a worldwide basis and plan marketing regionally in Latin America, a strong network is vital.

Now Mr. Rosenthal and executives from Lowe Group, Euro RSCG and BDDP are becoming familiar faces in Latin America. And even established networks are putting more power into the region to keep up with client interest.

In a move that could change media buying, Lintas is bringing its European media buying and planning arm Initiative Media to Latin America. In Europe, about 40% of media is bought through media buying groups, which barely exist in most of Latin America. Lintas is setting up Initiative Media offices in Santiago and S o Paulo to handle media buying for Unilever in Brazil, previously split among Unilever's agencies.

Unilever, the shop's biggest client, gets 9.5% of its sales from Latin America and is investing heavily there. So Lintas appointed James Allman first chairman for Latin America this year, from worldwide client service director.

Unilever is now looking at driving new food opportunities for Latin America out of Buenos Aires, as well as regional coordination for detergents. The company is also extending to Latin

America the Innovation Centers set up a few years ago in Europe, Asia and the U.S. to focus on international brand development.

Buenos Aires joins Paris and Bangkok as headquarters for international haircare Innovation Centers; the Argentine city also will be an IC headquarters for fragrances and deodorants.

With all this planning, executives at U.K. Unilever's headquarters are gearing up for new Latin American responsibilities. "Unilever [employees have] taken over all the Spanish language courses in London," Mr. Allman said.

With TBWA clients Beiersdorf, Seagram's Chivas Regal and Absolut vodka, Henkel, Nissan Motor Corp. and Quaker Oat Co.'s Gatorade interested in Latin America, Mr. Rosenthal said the

region is a priority for TBWA. After buying into Mexico City agency Teran last year, TBWA took stakes in early 1996 in Santiago agency Frederick & Valenzuela and Buenos Aires hot-shop Savaglio. Next stop: S o Paulo.

For Euro RSCG, the spark was a 1995 global assignment from N.V. Philips-carried out by Philips' other agency, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, in Latin America.

"The entire network there is new," said Alain de Pouzilhac, president of Euro RSCG. "It began with the arrival of the Philips worldwide account. We realized we'd have to be present where

Philips does its business, which meant becoming operational very quickly in Latin America."

In less than a year, Euro RSCG has bought into or started up nine agencies in Latin America.

Another French group, BDDP Worldwide, made the rounds of Brazilian shops in November.

S o Paulo's alluring independent shops W/Brasil, DM9 and Duailibi, Petit, Zaragoza have refused

to sell. "We receive everyone," said Jose Eduardo Cazarin Silva, DM9's director of operations, "then we say we're not interested."

To get into the market, startups are a popular solution.

Euro RSCG wooed Claudio Carillo and Dalton Pastore from local agencies to open Carillo,

Pastore Comunicacoes, S o Paulo, in December, with Euro RSCG as a partner.

Lowe Group entered Brazil last summer by setting up Lowe Loducca & Partners, S o Paulo, with Celso Loducca, former creative director of Foote, Cone & Belding in S o Paulo. Lowe

Group and Banco Icatu, a bank with a stake in DM9, each invested $1.5 million to start Lowe Loducca.

An international Coca-Cola Co. agency, Lowe hopes to wrest Coke's Diet Coke, Sprite and Fruitopia business from DPZ.

"International accounts don't come to a new agency right away," Mr. Loducca said. "The agency has to show strength in the local market."

Local agencies are also forming links to handle clients who cross borders, such as Intergrupo Mercolatino, a non-equity association of 20 local Latin American agencies. The association plans a regional meeting this month.

Contributing to this story: Bruce Crumley, Paris; Claudia Penteado, Rio de Janeiro.


Top Latin American agencies

Agencies ranked by 1994 gross Latin American gross income (by equity). Figures for 1995 will be published in the May 1996 issue of Advertising

Age International.

1994 gross 1994 Latin 1994

Latin America Change America GAAP

gross income from billings by gross

Rank Agency by equity 1993 equity income

1 McCann-Erickson Worldwide $171.8 +14.5% $1,145.9 $171.8

2 J. Walter Thompson Co. $98.8 +42.3% $564.7 $92.2

3 Young & Rubicam $77.2 +20.8% $514.9 $75.0

4 Leo Burnett Co. $64.3 +5.9% $428.4 $65.3

5 Lintas Worldwide $59.8 -1.7% $398.8 $58.4

6 Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide $58.5 -35.7% $324.6 $55.8

7 Grey Advertising $41.0 +15.9% $265.7 $33.8

8 BBDO Worldwide $39.6 +12.8% $193.6 $46.6

9 D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles $27.1 +10.7% $161.4 $11.4

10 True North Communications $25.0 -14.9% $165.8 $28.5

11 Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising $12.0 +16.6% $95.8 $11.2

12 DDB Needham Worldwide $5.4 +37.8% $36.2 $5.5

13 Bozell Worldwide $4.7 +12.3% $34.9 $0.2

14 Lowe Group $3.7 -0.6% $24.4 $5.0

15 N.W. Ayer & Partners $1.6 +7.4% $8.7 $0.0

Note: Figures are in millions of U.S. dollars. As a courtesy to readers, AAI lists totals based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: Equity less than 50% is excluded; if any agency owns 50% or more equity, 100% of gross income is included. Agencies that did not report any offices outside their home country are not eligible for rankings. Source: Advertising Age International.

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