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Minority Strengths Are Merged

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Roy, Vargas, Flores of Atlanta Team Up With Pinnacle of Chicago
ATLANTA--Minority marketing firm Pinnacle Associates Group has merged with ad agency Vargas
Flores & Amigos and public relations shop Roy Communications.
The expanded Pinnacle will have greater multicultural breadth after absorbing the two Atlanta companies, said chief executive officer Ty McSwain. It will be able to serve the Midwest from its Chicago base and the Southeast from Atlanta.
"We will be a 100 percent minority-owned, multicultural marketing services and communications agency with a range of resources for both the African American and Hispanic communities," McSwain said. "We'll be able to cover a lot of ground in a lot of different ways."
McSwain said he and Pinnacle president Suzanne Fuller would share partnership posts with Roy Communications founder Charlotte Roy and VF&A principals Daniel Vargas and Tony Flores. All three will be Pinnacle executive vice presidents. Vargas will serve as director of creative services as well.
The merger creates a Pinnacle with about $9 million in billings. There is about an 80-20 split between African American and Hispanic accounts, Vargas said.
Vargas said he and Flores felt constricted in Atlanta. They noted their agency was missing out on much of the region's minority marketing money, as clients focused heavily on the black community at the expense of Latino programs.
"The African American community has established [itself as a market force] in Atlanta," Vargas said. "It was better for me and Tony, rather than fight it, to just join it."
Vargas said some clients are "like ostriches. They put their heads in the sand [because] they hear horror stories about saying or doing something wrong in the Hispanic market, and you end up in a situation where you can't get out of it."
Fuller said when the Chicago shop was pitching clients, it would often hear complaints that minority agencies did not address more than one ethnic market.
"They would all say the same thing, 'We have to look for an African American agency, an Asian American agency, a Hispanic agency' . . . sometimes even asking us to help them," Fuller said. "Working with Tony, Dan and Charlotte, we all complement each other."
Pinnacle's current clients include Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Parmalat, Target and Coca-Cola. K