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Latinos Adopt Dot-Com Culture

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Dieste & Partners, Garcia/LKS Benefit via Online Account Wins
By J. Dee Hill
DALLAS--Two Hispanic agencies have found that digital pays in a market in which the percentage of Latinos online tops the U.S. average (36 percent versus 34 percent).
Dieste & Partners in Dallas last week confirmed that it has won the account of Univision.com. The portal site, still under development, is the much-anticipated adjunct of the Spanish-language television network that currently commands 80 percent of the Hispanic viewing audience.
Dieste will be involved in all aspects of its new interactive client's business, from the look of the site to the creation of traffic-driving mainstream ads.
The agency will be paid on a fee basis, as most TV advertising will air on Univision itself. Despite the lack of billings, Dieste managing manager Warren Harmel said Univision "definitely becomes one of our largest clients."
Dieste's previous work in the interactive arena involves Dermate, a Spanish-language auction site. Christopher Plummer, hired last year to manage the agency's Internet accounts, will take the lead on Univision.
"Computers and the Internet are an incredibly democratic institution," Harmel said. "Whereas in the general market most people consider it a useful tool, in the Hispanic it is very emotionally seen as a key to the future."
Luis Garcia, a partner at Garcia/LKS in San Antonio, agreed. "At the end of the day [the Internet] is an equalizer in the sense that Hispanics want to participate in everything--education, the economy," Garcia said. "They are responding well to sites that are culturally relevant and literally speak their language."
Garcia/LKS recently landed its seventh online client, Divina.com, a women's portal site. In total, new dot-com clients have added $35 million in billings to the agency.
"About 18 months ago we really started working on Internet clients," said Garcia. "And in that time our concept of ourselves has evolved.
"These pure Internet plays are having a tough time," he continued. "We're advising them on everything from how they answer the phone
. . . to their customer retention programs. So we made a transition from an ad agency to a company that gets customers for clients."
Other major online clients on the agency's roster include Que-pasa.com, SiTV.com, Espa„ol.com and Unibanc.com. The dot-coms are handled by the shop's chief Internet strategist, Laura Cisneros.