Slingshot Forms Hispanic Unit

Slingshot has taken advantage of the closure of Berry-Brown Advertising last month to hire all the employees of the agency’s former Hispanic marketing division.

The nine-member team of Grupo Cuatro has relocated to Slingshot’s headquarters in downtown Dallas. The group will operate under a new name as a separate, minority-owned company headed by managing partners Angela Carrales and Maribel Larrañaga.

It remains uncertain whether former Berry-Brown Hispanic marketing clients, including Gatorade, Aunt Jemima and Wolf Brand Products, will follow along to Slingshot. Several clients are owed money by Berry-Brown, which shut its doors before Thanksgiving following an embezzlement scandal.

“We’re waiting to see how it’s resolved,” Larrañaga said. In the meantime, her group was approached by several agencies wanting to hire Grupo Cuatro in its entirety.

“There were similar offers, but this was a real fit philosophically,” Larrañaga said. “We are really thrilled with the opportunity.”

Slingshot, primarily an interactive agency, “had been wanting to establish a Hispanic presence but had difficulty figuring out where to start,” said Owen Hannady, Slingshot’s president. “We had heard about the unfortunate demise of Berry-Brown and saw it as an opportunity.”

The recruitment of Grupo Cuatro’s nine staff members is the first considerable public attention Slingshot has drawn since its foundingin 1995 by Hannady, a former account executive at The Richards Group in Dallas.

“We have an offering that is very unique,” he said. “Over the years the clients have found us.”

Slingshot was originally established as a network of freelance talent. “But as we grew,” said Hannady, “the need for consistency and quality demanded that we bring the creative department in-house.” The agency, however, still relies heavily on freelancers.

Slingshot has since grown to 60 full-time staff members, many of them alumni of The Richards Group. Major accounts include the interactive businesses of Verizon, Jack Daniels whiskey and Pizza Inn.

The agency’s Hispanic advertising accounts have included Fuego Technologies and Bimbo, for which Slingshot soon will be handling a general market introduction. That product launch will be for Tia Rosa, the Mexican company’s brand of tortilla chips.