Wireless Win for Cartel Group

The Cartel Group has won the estimated $3 million Hispanic account of Cricket.

Marketed as “comfortable wireless,” the Cricket service encourages customers to substitute their home phones for their mobile versions by offering a low, flat rate for local calls. The service is offered by San Diego-based Leap Wireless.

“We have a tremendous amount of pent-up telecommunications expertise to unleash and were looking for a client like Cricket—someone who has tremendous potential to grow,” said Irma Calderon Woodruff, executive director of business development at Cartel.

Woodruff previously handled Hispanic marketing on the client side for Southwestern Bell. After successfully working with Cartel on a major Spanish-language campaign (which received a gold Effie award), she switched sides to join agency partners Victoria Varela Hudson and Jesus Ramirez.

The three former Bell specialists led the pitch team that won the latest telecom account in a review of undisclosed agencies.

“We believe we were chosen because of our new school approach to Hispanic marketing,” Woodruff said.

The client, now with more than 700,000 subscribers, operates in 29 markets from Oregon to Tennessee.

The Cricket account, along with an earlier win of Bank One’s Hispanic marketing, will push the San Antonio agency’s billings over $100 million for the first time.

Cartel has recently reorganized its holdings into several divisions under the heading of the Cartel Group, executives said.

Cartel Creativo, the original agency, will handle advertising, strategic planning, market re-search and media. Cartel Impacto includes Hispanic public relations and promotions, and Cartel Contacto is the direct marketing arm with headquarters in New York. The agency’s chief strategist, Pablo Muniz, oversees coordination of all three units.

“Now we are making sure each client gets the most out of our strategic services,” Woodruff said.