Francisco Letelier, the new senior vice president and creative director of L.A.'s largest Latino ad agency, sees a strong shift in the way Spanish-language advertising is viewed these days.

"In the past it hasn't gotten as much respect because the market was not recognized as important culturally or financially," he said. "Now there is a new awareness of its huge buying power, which is growing at a gigantic pace. The Latin culture has become very trendy and fashionable."

Letelier will oversee all of the creative work in the Hispanic division at La Agencia de Orc & #237; & Asociados and will have input on the agency's overall vision.

Before joining the West L.A.-based La Agencia, Letelier was creative director of Leo Burnett/Chicago's Hispanic division, handling a broad range of product categories, services and brands.

Letelier notes that, "it's not enough to translate advertising directly from English into Spanish, you need to address their concerns and insights, sometimes in very specific ways. For example, the mainstream American market tends to be more individualistic, whereas Hispanics rely on intuition, family and friends, so you address those emotions or family ties in your marketing."

Letelier moved from Chile to Chicago in 1990, and he's already seen a big shift in Latino marketing. "Now I see better advertising aimed at the Hispanic community new ideas are being introduced, stereotypes are being broken. Also, we have a new understanding of the different dynamics of the many different groups out there and we can now target those specific groups, rather than treat Hispanics as one culture."

In his native Chile, Letelier was art director and copywriter with ALCO Publicidad. He was promoted to associate creative director when ALCO merged with Leo Burnett, Chile in 1988. He was transferred to Chicago and became creative director of the Hispanic group in 1994. He received his bachelor's degree in graphic design and architecture from the Pontifical Catholic University in Valpara & #237;so, Chile.

Jolie Gorchov

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.