Univision’s New Ad Agency: Much Ado About Nothing

January 17, 2013

Posted by Jose Villa

There has been a lot of concern and confusion in the Hispanic ad agency world this week as a result of Univision's announcement of the launch of their internal ad agency called “The Univision Agency.”

AHAA (the Association of Hispanic

Advertising Agencies, of which I am a member) put out a response, diffusing the tension and reaffirming its partnership with Univision. The new head of “The Univision Agency” also came out saying “We are not competing with advertising agencies at all”

I'm not sure really sure what Univision's actual intentions are. In my mind, there are two ways to look at this. The first is that Univision is just looking to internalize all of their massive internal and external marketing and cross-promotional efforts, which makes operational, financial and strategic sense. No threat to Hispanic agencies here.

However, another way to look at this is a little more conspiratorial and “black helicopter” in nature. If Univision was just doing this with an internal focus, why would they issue a big press release and push it out to the trades (like the New York Times, who ran a story on it on Monday). It seems a little suspect to come out with such a bold PR push, especially when you consider how the press release was worded, as Roberto Orci (AHAA Chair) noted in recent story on the subject.

In my mind, it doesn't really matter and this doesn't really change much (unless you're an ad agency that was helping Univision with their advertising). The way I see it, Univision, and especially their local affiliates, have been competing with Hispanic agencies for a long time, particularly with a segment of Hispanic marketers. This also appears to be a natural evolution of strategic consulting practice Univision announced back in mid-2011, which I discussed in a past blog post.

It's very common for local advertisers and first time entrants into the Hispanic market to work with Univision as an agency that develops their creative and runs it on their media. Local advertisers usually can't afford to hire a specialist Hispanic agency, so Univision (and Telemundo, Azteca America, and other Spanish media companies) acts as a one-stop-shop, typically bundling a media buy with some basic strategy and creative production.

It's also common for larger, national marketers that are just “getting their toes wet” in the Hispanic market to go straight to Univision for integrated advertising services (strategy + creative + media) when piloting efforts in the Hispanic market. They understandably do not want to hire a Hispanic ad agency if they are not yet committed to a long-term investment in the Hispanic market.

At the end of the day, a savvy, experienced and committed Hispanic marketer will not choose “The Univision Agency” or any other in-house agency offered by a Hispanic media company over an experienced Hispanic ad agency. In addition to being a huge conflict of interest, it would represent a scaling down and simplification of their Hispanic marketing strategy at a time when the Hispanic market is growing in size and complexity.

This article originally ran on HispanicAd.com's HispanicCMO on January 17, 2013

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About Jose Villa

I’m the founder and President of Sensis, a cross-cultural advertising agency with digital at its core. I launched Sensis as a Web development firm in 1998 and one of the first agencies focusing on the Hispanic digital market. Our agency has since grown into a unique full-service ad agency – that takes a digitally-infused cross-cultural approach to the general market. I am passionate about cross-cultural marketing and always trying to push the envelope of multicultural advertising. I write regularly for MediaPost, AdAge, HispanicAd.com, and here! I also speak at a lot of advertising conferences like SXSW, Hispanic Retail 360, Hispanicize, and AHAA.