Bcom3 Unifies Its Ethnic Units

Bcom3 Group’s new multicultural brands, Pangea and Tapestry, were formed to tap the U.S. ethnic market but could branch out globally, an executive with the holding company said.

“This concept can work in any country where there’s a significantly diverse population,” said Arthur Selkowitz, vice chairman and chief client officer of Bcom3, who will be an adviser for the unit. Executives have explored the possibility of exporting the concept to London and Paris, Selkowitz said.

The Chicago-based holding company last week unveiled Pangea as the umbrella for its multicultural marketing units, which include Hispanic groups Lapiz, Chicago, and Bromley Communications, San Antonio, and New York-based urban and African-American unit Vigilante. Bcom3’s multicultural media units were put into one group known as Tapestry. Tapestry has formed an exclusive affiliation with Unity Media, which targets African Americans.

Pangea has also struck exclusive affiliation deals with Asian American network New-A Inc. New-A owns full-service shops, including Admerasia in New York and Canada, AAAZA in Los Angeles, interactive agency Cyverasia and translation company aLanguageBank.

Bcom3’s deal with New-A does not include equity investment yet, but the holding company does have an option to buy shares of the company later, Selkowitz said.

The company did buy a 20 percent stake in Double Platinum, a New York-based boutique targeting the gay and lesbian market, which will also be part of Pangea. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Pangea will account for $330 million in billings from clients including Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola and General Motors.

Both Pangea and Tapestry will be operational by the beginning of next year.

The reason for bringing all the units together was to give clients a one-stop shop when it comes to muticultural marketing, Selkowitz said.

“One of the key problem areas for clients was they had to deal with separate agencies” for ethnic marketing, said Selkowitz. Under Pangea, “we can share insights.”

While the units will continue to be run as separate brands, Christopher Ang, Western Union client manager from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, will serve as chief integration officer in order to ensure that the units worktogether.