Ad Pioneer Zubizarreta Dies at 69

NEW YORK Tere Zubizarreta, the iconoclastic founder and CEO of Zubi Advertising, died today. The Hispanic advertising pioneer lost her long battle with cancer.

Zubizarreta ran one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned advertising agencies in Coral Gables, Fla., which she launched in the 1970s from a rented office in Miami with one phone and a borrowed typewriter.

Today, Zubi is among the most respected U.S. Hispanic agencies, credited with revolutionizing how corporate America views the Latino market. The company has more than 100 employees, billings in excess of $195 million, countless awards for creative work and an impressive list of blue-chip clients, including American Airlines, Ford Motor Co., Lincoln Mercury, Winn-Dixie, Washington Mutual and SC Johnson.

“My mother was my teacher, adviser and my greatest inspiration,” said son Joe Zubizarreta, in a statement. He holds the title of COO for the agency. “Her goodwill, passion and perseverance have left a wonderful impression on all of the fortunate people that have crossed her path.”

An activist in her South Florida community, Tere Zubizarreta was the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the board of governors and committee chair of the United Way of America. She also served on the board of directors for the Orange Bowl Committee, Beacon Council and Miami Children’s Hospital, and was a co-founder and former chairperson of FACE, Facts About Cuban Exiles.

Born and raised in Cuba, Tere Zubizarreta fled the country in 1960 during the Castro revolution and relocated to Miami, with husband Octavio Zubizarreta and son Joe. Her daughter, Michelle, was born soon after. Today, Michelle Zubizarreta leads the advertising firm.

Tere Zubizarreta recently received the Eduardo Caballero Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.