Nowhere is the interface between English- and Spanish-language advertising more an issue than in the agency business. In 2002, 94.8 percent of billings reported by the Hispanic Business Top Hispanic Ad Agencies were for Spanish-language services. This year, the proportion has dropped to 81 percent.
A 2003 presentation by Aida Levitan, then-president of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, concluded that "AHAA agencies need to keep adapting and delivering solutions in the new environment. Crossover work (culturally relevant English advertising) is a great example of how AHAA agencies continue to deliver solutions to the market."
Also, shifts in the relationship between general market and Hispanic market agencies have changed the entire structure of the industry. A few years ago, many of the largest agencies were independently owned by Hispanic entrepreneurs. Today a number have been acquired by international conglomerates going for a slice of an expanding market.
Owing to these acquisitions – plus limitations on divulging financial information imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley law – some of the biggest agencies in the Hispanic market no longer appear among the Top 25 Hispanic Advertising Agencies list due to their failure to provide necessary data. Another structural change, which has diluted the numbers, is a trend involving the creation of multicultural agencies (rather than Hispanic-market-specific ones).
Notably, even with the dilution, the total billings of the Top Hispanic Agencies list jumped a full 15 percent this year, from $1.276 billion in 2004 to $1.467 billion.
Two Lists That Together Spell Expanding Opportunity
But to give a more complete picture of U.S. Hispanic ad billings size and growth, we provide two lists this year: The Top 25 Hispanic Advertising Agencies directory, and information on the activities of large agencies included in previous directories that didn't provide 2005 data.
2005 Top 25 Hispanic Ad Agencies
Ranked by gross reported billings, in ($) millions
1» Tapestry, The Multicultural Division of
Starcom MediaVest Group
Ownership: Starcom MediaVest Group
Year founded: 1987
No. of employees: 60
2005 gross billings: $382.0 million
2004 gross billings: $364.0 million
CEO: Monica M. Gadsby
Clients: Coca-Cola, Disney, Kraft, Masterfoods, Miller, P&G
2» Zubi Advertising Services
Coral Gables, FL
Ownership: Independent/100% Hispanic-owned
Year founded: 1979
No. of employees: 112
2005 gross billings: $170.0 million
2004 gross billings: $160.0 million
CEO: Teresa A. Zubizarreta
Clients: American Airlines, Florida Lottery, Ford Motor Co., GenWorth, MasterFoods (M&M, Mars), Olive Garden Restaurants, J.M. Smuckers Co., S.C. Johnson, Wachovia, Winn Dixie
3» Lopez Negrete Communications
Year founded: 1985
No. of employees: 115
2005 gross billings: $135.0 million
2004 gross billings: $110.0 million
CEO: Alex Lopez Negrete
Clients: Wal-Mart Stores, Bank of America, Tyson Foods, Visa USA, Azteca Milling, Reliant Energy, MicroSoft, Shell Oil
4» The Cartel Group
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