Ornelas Establishes Western Office in Los Angeles

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

“In the past we didn’t feel we were in a position to open a full-service office, but now we’re in a position to investment spend,” said agency president and chief executive officer Victor Ornelas. “L.A. is the largest Latino market in the country and it’s growing. 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 received more business since then. The shop initially handled the factory Hispanic account; last year it added the business of six of Nissan’s U.S. regions. Over the last few months 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. “Nissan is growing tremendously, so let’s make sure we have the support they want and need.”

The independent shop will handle creative for Nissan’s factory account and the Southwest from Los Angeles, Ornelas said. Creative for the other regions and media for the automaker’s account will continue to be handled from Dallas, he said.

Ornelas will move to Los Angeles to manage the new office that he expects to grow to 10 employees 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 cd. Lefeld now runs the Dallas office.

Ornelas said the Dallas location of 32 employees, which opened in 1988, will continue to provide support to the Western branch. “It won’t be totally self-sufficient,” he said.

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