Nissan Shop Ornelas Comes to L.A.

Ornelas & Associates in Dallas has opened a Los Angeles office to handle much of its growing Nissan North America business and future Latino accounts.

“L.A. is the largest Latino market in the country, and it’s growing,” said agency president and CEO Victor Ornelas. “And there are a lot of companies in key categories like entertainment that you can’t access in Dallas.”

Ornelas became Gardena, Calif.-based Nissan’s first lead Latino agency in 1999 and has steadily grown the account since then. It initially handled the factory Hispanic account; last year it added the business of six of Nissan’s U.S. regions. This year it acquired the account of the final and largest territory, the Southwest, which had been at Acento in Los Angeles.

“When we picked up the Southwest region, it made more business sense [to expand],” Ornelas said.

The independent shop will handle creative for Nissan’s factory account and the Southwest from L.A., Orne las said. Creative for the other regions and media will remain in Dallas.

Ornelas will move to L.A. to manage the new office, which he expects will grow to 10 staffers within six months. Claudia Volpi, formerly a creative director at Wing Latino Group in Los Angeles, has joined as creative director. She reports to Max Lefeld, who has been promoted to chief creative officer from executive creative director. Lefeld now runs the Dallas office.

Ornelas said the 32-person Dallas office, which opened in 1988, will provide support to the Western branch.

Nissan spent $3.6 million on Hispanic network TV in 2001, per Niel sen Monitor Plus. NMP reports no 2002 activity for the client.