Nissan Names First Latino AOR

Ornelas & Associates Earns the Honor in a National Review
By J. Dee Hill
DALLAS–Ornelas & Associates, the region’s fifth-largest Latino-owned agency, has won the national Hispanic advertising account of Nissan, Adweek has learned.
Nissan director of corporate communications Debra Sanchez Fair confirmed that “Ornelas is Nissan’s agency of choice pending contract approval and negotiations.” An official announcement is expected in a few weeks.
“It’s the fulfillment of a long-term goal of the agency,” commented Victor Ornelas, the agency’s principal. “We love to do image advertising and we’ve yearned for a car account since we founded the agency 10 years ago.”
The Dallas-based agency won the account in a national review which included del Rivero Messianu Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., and Casa-nova Pendrill Publicidad, Irvine, Calif., in the final round.
The media budget was not disclosed, although industry observers estimated the broadcast portion of Nissan’s Hispanic advertising topped $3 million in 1998. The automaker spent $340.6 million on general market advertising in the same year according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The minority account budget has doubled this year, said Nissan’s Fair, as the automaker makes its first concerted effort to reach Latinos in the U.S. Ornelas & Associates will become Nissan’s first Hispanic agency of record. In the last three years, the car company has done no more than a few regional Latino marketing projects.
“All I can say is we’ve stepped up our minority response,” said Fair. “We’ve had Carol Williams [Carol H. Williams Advertising in Oakland, Calif.] as our African American agency for several years, and this year we’ve embarked on efforts to reach Hispanics.”
The first creative work will debut this fall. Ornelas said it was “too early to tell” if the advertising would follow in the footsteps of the
“Driven” campaign developed by Nissan’s general market agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day. Ornelas & Associates is evaluating the positioning of all Nissan and Infiniti models to determine their potential for the Latino market.
The Nissan win caps a streak of recent business gains for Ornelas, which this year also picked up Spanish-language planning and buying for Kimberly-Clark (Huggies and Pullups brands), as well as creative assignments on Budweiser from Anheuser-Busch.