Women to Watch 06

Ricky Soler

By Published on .

From a very cramped office in a fast-growing Coral Gables, Fla., ad agency, Ricky Soler has a single task: to lead the creative charge at Zubi Advertising. Along the way, he's helping raise the bar for Hispanic creative work with his campaigns backing Ford Motor Co., S.C. Johnson & Son and M&M/Mars.

In fact, for months Mars delivered secret crates of dulce de leche-flavor caramel M&M's to Zubi's door, as the creative and other departments at the independent agency prepared for the candy giant's first new-product launch, in August, aimed at the Hispanic market.

"A lot of Hispanic agencies hold up a mirror [to the viewing consumer] and say, `Here is your life.' Zubi is the opposite of that," says Rich Stoddart, manager-marketing communication overseeing all ethnic marketing for Ford Division. "They are about big ideas that create a powerful idea for all consumers, and in advertising that's the Holy Grail."

Mr. Soler's work on Ford, from TV commercials to online banners, is-along with del Rivero Messianu DDB's work for Volkswagen of America-the best car advertising in the Hispanic market. Zubi's creative for Ford's Mustang and Focus cars has run on general market TV.

His business card says Enrique Soler-Armstrong, reflecting an unusual blend of Puerto Rican and Scottish, but Zubi's VP-executive creative director just goes by Ricky Soler. He came to Zubi in September 2000 from VP-creative director in the Miami office of WPP Group's Y&R Advertising. Previously, he spent 14 years as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson Co. and Foote, Cone & Belding in his native Puerto Rico.


Mr. Soler, 38, was hired to "put that edge in the creative work" at a time when Hispanic creative is transitioning from a "formulaic and educational" product to one that touches consumers who now are accustomed to more breakthrough creative, says Exec VP Joe Zubizarreta.

But some clients aren't quite ready to approve the often entertaining work common in general market advertising, Mr. Soler says.

"You have to make it entertaining," says Mr. Soler, who soon will be leading his charge from a more spacious office when the agency moves this fall. "Consumers are expecting more."

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