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wants to reach new retail customers and says he expects his agency to step up to the challenge with strategic insights and a TV branding campaign next year. "No client has the expertise to do all [marketing disciplines] well. We know the direct response customer, and they know how to execute TV ads," he says.

La Comunidad came in through the back door to build a relationship with BBA, the internal agency of electronics retailer Best Buy. More than a year ago, the shop was hired to work on a Spanish-language TV campaign and has parlayed that project into an ongoing strategic partnership.

With 120 employees, BBA handles creative for all of Best Buy's general-market advertising and marketing. Ruby Anik, vp of advertising, leads the agency, which won its first Effie award last year for the "Thousands of Possibilities" TV campaign. The ads featured customers talking to sales clerks, who imagined what the customers really needed.

When La Comunidad started its consumer research and strategic planning process, says agency president Gary Bassell, BBA staffers asked questions every step of the way and continued to do so during the creative process. "They wanted to learn how and why we did things so they could operate more like an outside agency," he says. Discussions quickly went beyond Hispanic ads to general advertising. The agency became "something like a business consultant," says Bassell.

La Comunidad's brand campaign broke on Spanish-language TV in June. It shows family scenes in which the father figure becomes ridiculously frightened when another family member starts talking about new technology.

Best Buy's Anik says she looks for fruitful partnerships with outside agencies to keep her staff sharp. "When working with outside resources, I've learned to hire the best, look for a cultural fit with our company culture and respect the expertise they bring," she says. "We strive for excellence by incorporating fresh thinking and pushing the boundaries."

Nonetheless, Bassell is quick to admit that internal and external agencies are still like "oil and vinegar." Not that that's a bad thing. "Best Buy was looking for us to act as vinegar, to shake up their thinking about advertising," he says. "They were intentionally looking for views that were counter to theirs. Friction can be a good thing. It can wake you up."