Ad agency created by, for Hispanics  
Arizona Republic/Arizona Business Gazette
Sept 30, 2004

Claire Bush

The Hispanic population in Maricopa County is expected to grow to a majority by 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Rosa and Javier Macias, owners of the state's newest Spanish-speaking advertising agency, Del Sol Hispanic Advertising, are seeking to help those of their own culture operate their businesses successfully by using advertising targeted to the Spanish-speaking market.

The couple, who arrived in the United States in 1990 from Mexico City, are well versed in the challenges facing Hispanics in Arizona. Their biggest challenge 14 years ago, according to Rosa, was learning to speak the language. Understanding their new country's economy, laws and legal system was also difficult. The pair enrolled in school to learn English, a process that took "about three years," she said.

In 1997, the couple opened their Mueblena del Sol, a furniture store that caters to the Spanish-speaking market. By advertising on Univision, the Spanish-language television station broadcast from Phoenix, the store was able to pull in a target market of first-time furniture buyers, many of whom had recently arrived in the country from Mexico. Using what they had learned in setting up their business, the Maciases showed customers how to use a legal contract, establish credit and arrange for bank financing. Now with four locations in the Valley, Muebleria del Sol posted $4.5 million in sales in 2003.

This year, the couple launched Del Sol Hispanic Advertising in response to the huge demand they see for advertising tailored to the Hispanic market.

"Since we know the Mexican culture and the way Hispanic people plan their purchasing decisions, we can help our clients reach this market easily and affordably," Rosa says. The agency's initial clientele is largely composed of tenants from the couple's four Valley strip mall locations that house their furniture stores. These include Mexican-style meat markets, or carnicerias, bakeries, beauty salons, check cashing stores and other Hispanic mom and pop establishments.

The agency has five employees who help clients with planning and buying television, radio, newspaper, magazine and direct mail advertising.

The firm's corporate office in Phoenix is linked with a broadcasting production company in Hermosillo, Mexico, that creates Spanish-speaking audio/video products such as infomercials, industrial videos and television and radio spots. There is also an on-site art department that creates display advertising, print products, Web pages and business media cards.

According to Francisco Javier Serrano, the agency's account manager, the firm's success is based on firsthand knowledge of the Hispanic culture.

"We know where our clients like to grocery shop, what kind of cars they like to drive, what type of music they listen to and the holidays that are important to them."

By targeting advertising within the state's two Spanish-language newspapers, for instance, Serrano can show clients how to reach customers who need everything from piņatas for a child's birthday party to Spanish-speaking attorneys and mortgage companies.

Del Sol is working with representatives from the city of Phoenix to produce seminars for Hispanic small-business owners in the Valley, focusing on opening and establishing a successful venture with the use of targeted advertising.

"From our years of operating a furniture business, we know what works to bring in buyers," Macias says.

"With Del Sol, we can show our clients how to grow and where their advertising dollar is best spent."