The growth of the Hispanic and Asian communities in the US has prompted Publicis Groupe to invest in a new network of agencies devoted to these minority groups.

The group has unveiled plans to buy a 49% stake in Miami-headquartered Sanchez & Levitan to spearhead a new network, Publicis Sanchez & Levitan, whose remit will cover Hispanic-targeted advertising. Publicis will add to the new-born agency the Dallas and Los Angeles offices of Siboney, whose two other units in Miami and New York will continue to operate independently of PS&L.

Publicis Sanchez & Levitan will have around 100 staff, with billings from clients such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé and BellSouth topping $80 million. It will also double Publicis’ commitment to the Hispanic market, since its Saatchi & Saatchi unit also owns a stateside agency – New York’s Conill Advertising – devoted to the same community. Conill and Publicis Sanchez will compete against each other in the US.

Gazing into his crystal ball, Publicis chief executive Maurice Lévy forecast that “ethnic communication will grow in the US.” He added that this is not the end of the group’s minority-focused investment, stating that Publicis “obviously will have to look at the Asian market because it, too, is a growing market.”

Fausto Sanchez – chairman, chief creative officer and president at the new network – was also in prophetic mood, predicting that the Miami office could act as “a hub for Publicis as it seeks new business in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

A similarly enthusiastic note was sounded by Aida Levitan, chief executive at Sanchez & Levitan, who retains her post and also takes the chair of the Publicis venture: “This is a pretty wonderful opportunity,” she said. “It provides us with a strategic alliance and a quick conversion of our agency into a national agency, with offices in the top three Hispanic states: California, Texas and Florida.”

News source: New York Times