Hispanic Shops Make Run for 2 Financial Accounts

A handful of Hispanic agencies are getting the rare chance to vie for assignments in the financial-services sector.

General Electric subsidiary GE Fi nancial Assurance in Richmond, Va., is in the final stages of a review for Hispanic duties on its creative and media account, sources said. And Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., is surveying shops to handle a multicultural assignment.

Companies in the category have stepped up their Hispanic advertising in recent years, but the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies contends that financial-services clients generally spend a combined $60-70 million per year on ads targeting Hispanics. Western Union, the top financial-services advertiser in the Hispanic market last year, spent about $15 million on such ads, according to His panic Business. In 2001, financial products and services advertisers spent more than $3.4 billion overall on ads, according to CMR; credit-card companies spent nearly $1 billion on ads during the same period.

Many Hispanics are leery of investments, in part due to “lack of communications, lack of choice” in the entire sector, said Carlos Santiago, president of San Francisco consultancy The Santiago Solutions Group.

Oral presentations for GE Financial are scheduled for the week of Dec. 16. Finalists are The Vidal Partnership in New York; Zubi Advertising in Coral Gables, Fla.; and Dieste Harmel & Partners in Dallas, sources said. A decision is expected in late December. Billings are $2-3 million. The winner will also be asked to work on a “corporate component” in 2003 that includes work for parent GE, said GE rep Alex Constantinople.

Wachovia wants to consolidate at one multicultural shop, sources said. Global Hue in Southfield, Mich., which has handled Hispanic ads on a project basis since June, was invited to participate but declined, the shop said.

The client did not return calls. Publicis Sanchez & Levitan in Miami, Images USA in Atlanta, and GlobalWorks in New York are among the agencies contending for Wachovia, sources said. Billings are undisclosed.