Chicago Shop Expands Into Hispanic Market

CHICAGO The Marketing Store has launched a Hispanic division called The Marketing Bodega to work with traditional advertising agencies seeking to reach Hispanic consumers.

The introduction represents an effort to tap the $700 billion in domestic Hispanic buying power, a number expected to nearly double in the next five years, according to research firm Santiago Solutions Group.

“Right now, there’s a huge gap in the industry between traditional agencies and the integrated marketing efforts that happen on a local level,” said John Burn Marante, managing director of The Marketing Bodega, which is based in Chicago. “We need to get close to the Hispanic consumer to drive brand conversion.”

Its own creative and account management teams will staff the unit, including creative director German Chavez, who recently joined from Publicis Dialog in Mexico, Marante said. The Marketing Bodega’s client list includes McDonald’s Corp., Coca-Cola’s Dasani and Sprite brands and Miller Brewing Co., he said.

“The Hispanic and Latino cultures are not the target but rather the inspiration that provides the strategic creative direction for Bodega,” said Clive Maclean, president of U.S. agency services for The Marketing Store, in a statement. “Marketers understand the importance of going beyond the numbers and obtaining substantial results by creating a human connection that The Marketing Bodega’s creative teams will bring to their business.”

Marante illustrated the difference between the traditional promotional agency’s work and a Hispanic specialization with an example of a Puerto Rican immigrant. She may go to the grocery store for ground beef, he said, but when she seeks a tamarind or other exotic ingredient, she’s more likely to head to a local bodega. He equated the specialized attention from the local bodega to The Marketing Bodega’s style of service.

Traditional agencies of all stripes have been paying more attention to the Hispanic market in recent years. Mindshare Interactive in February launched Redes, a Washington, D.C.-based offshoot focused on the U.S. Hispanic market. That same month, the Miami-based Hispanic arm of Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos rebranded as Abece to further define itself in the marketplace.

Advertisers spent $4.2 billion in U.S. Hispanic media last year, an increase of 6 percent over 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Prior to joining The Marketing Store, Marante has worked on the client side as marketing director for Heineken in Latin American and the Caribbean, and as a general manager for Diageo.

The Marketing Store, an independent promotional and marketing agency based in Chicago, has about $500 million in billings, with offices in the United Kingdom, Sao Paolo, Brazil, Toronto and Sydney, Australia. Its clients include McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Miller Brewing, Nissan, General Mills, Best Buy and PetSmart.