Penney Appoints Grupo Samba Latino Marketer

Grupo Samba has acquired the $8-9 million Hispanic marketing account of J.C. Penney Direct Marketing Services.

With a deal inked late last week, the division of Dieste & Partners in Dallas becomes the first full-time Hispanic marketing partner of J.C. Penney DMS.

One of the most profitable units of the Plano, Texas-based department store chain, the DMS division markets a variety of financialservices and benefits to the store’s cardholders.

The client had previously worked on a project basis with both Grupo Samba and Cartel Creativo in San Antonio, the Hispanic agency for the retailer’s corporate account.

Grupo Samba’s account win is directly related to its transformation last year from a purely new media group (known as Samba Interactive) to one that includes research, strategic planning and direct marketing. Last summer Juan Faura, formerly director of global research at Cheskin Research in San Francisco, was hired to effect that change.

Said Faura, “In the Silicon Valley I had already got the feeling that dot-coms were unraveling … We decided that the opportunities coming up had to do more with the niche marketing functions.”

Faura said plans involve helping J.C. Penney DMS move beyond its cardholder client base and extend co-marketing agreements with other major corporations.

“Companies are sitting up and taking notice that this is a pretty fertile and virgin market,” Faura said. “Direct marketing is sounderdeveloped in Hispanic marketing … It has posed some interesting challenges.”

Hormel is another of Grupo Samba’s major accounts. The agency also works with Dieste clients such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Neutrogena. Located in separate office space from Dieste, it continues to produce its own interactive, broadcast and print advertising.