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The 2020 Latin American PR Agencies of the Year are the result of a research process involving submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region.
The Jeffrey Group (Independent)
JeffreyGroup provides public relations services across Latin America to international clients, with 230 full-time professionals in its Miami headquarters and offices in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico (three markets that account for about four-fifths of multinational client spending in the region), supplemented by affiliates and independent contractors in other South and Central American markets and the Caribbean.
Founded by Burson-Marsteller and Rowland Company alum Jeffrey Sharlach, the firm is led today by CEO Brian Burlingame, with Patricia Avila taking over the largest operation, JeffreyGroup Brazil, as managing director after many years at Burson-Marsteller and BCW where she most recently served as CEO Brazil. Also in Brazil, the firm added Mauricio Fogaça as creative director (from Ogilvy Brazil) heading up a creative design team of 10 professionals.
Growth in 2019 was a very impressive 33%, with fees topping $13 million, enough to rank among the top 140 PR firms in the world, driven by new business from Bain & Company, BlackRock, BMW, DirecTV, Dow, Gatorade, L'Oreal, Polycom and Walt Disney World Resorts as well as significant expansion in the firm’s work with Enterprise Car Rental, Salesforce and Bayer, for which Jeffrey now manages all communications in Brazil across corporate, pharmaceutical, over-the-counter and agribusiness sectors. Other clients include Airbus, Amazon, American Airlines, Bayer, Facebook, HBO, Marriott, Mastercard, PepsiCo and Salesforce. The firm’s work earned it 10 SABRE nominations this year, with highlights including executive positioning for BlackRock Mexico CEO Samantha Ricciardi and a diversity initiative for Pepsico’s Doritos brand.—PH
LLYC (the former Llorente & Cuenca changed its name in April of last year) now derives almost exactly half of its $45 million revenue from the Latin America region, and has established itself as the largest firm in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking markets of the world, with extraordinary depth in financial communications (it joined the Finsbury-Hering Schippener partnership a year ago), corporate and public affairs, as well as in key sectors ranging from financial services to the extractive industries. The Latin America network consists of 350 people across owned and branded offices in Argentina, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo), Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, as well as affiliates in nine additional markets, supplemented by a hub in Miami that provides a link with LLYC’s burgeoning North American network.
With the onset of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year, LLYC was one of the first firms to response, launching a series of solutions focusing on areas such as financial restructuring, health and safety, wellness and wellbeing, tourism, pharma, essential services, food and nutrition, brand activism and corporate influence. A new offering under the “Embrace The New Normal” banner brings together specialty teams from across the network to help companies adapt as markets begin to recover.
Healthy single-digit growth last year took the firm to total fee income of just under $50 million (about a little more than half from the Latin American operations), ranking LLYC among the top 50 firms in the world. The firm works for a mix of global and regional clients, including Cisneros, AB Inbev/SABMiller, Coca-Cola, Cemex, DHL, 3M, American Tower, CCR, Smurfit Kappa, and PTC, with new business this year from PTC, Amgen, Avianca, Demarest, and Nikon.—PH
Porter Novelli (Omnicom)
Porter Novelli’s operations in North America, Europe and Asia have been on a rollercoaster ride over the past decade or more, but under the leadership of Karen Ovseyevitz, the firm’s Latin American business, which spans 14 countries, remains one of the most extensive in the region. More than 500 people staff offices in Argentina, three Brazilian cities, Colombia, six Central American countries, Chile, Mexico, Panama, and Peru, with particular expertise in consumer (purpose is a notable focus) and corporate (including crisis) areas and the healthcare, technology sectors, as well as formidable digital and social expertise.
In the last year, Porter Novelli added an impressive 50 new clients — including big names like Nokia, Chubb, McDonald’s, Samsung, Roche Diabetes, Siemens, NBC Universal, Twitter and General Mills — which join roster including Microsoft, P&G, Mars, Pepsico, Nestle and J&J. With ongoing pressure from companies to keep costs down, started handling some accounts, such as P&G and Sony, on a regional basis, creating cross-market teams that are equipped to provide clients more consistent, efficient work across borders.
With media relations and earned media the core of much of the region’s PR work, the firm aggressively responded to the dwindling number of media outlets by working with journalists on developing laser focused content that aligns their and clients’ interests. The year’s hallmark work includes Porter Mexico’s social media campaign for the California Almond Board, which focused making almonds part of a healthy lifestyle, and the #DontRushChallenge for Pantene, which included a coordinated effort among 28 influencers in eight countries showing what it takes to look and feel their best, with help from Pantene.—DM
Sherlock Communications (Independent)
Last year, Sherlock Communications took home top honors at the Latin American SABRE Awards for its “Fighting Financial Exclusion in Brazil” campaign for financial services firm Airfox. This year it followed up with 24 finalists in the same competition, more than twice as many as any other agency, ranging from its corporate reputation building work “Proving the value of Distance Learning in Latin America” for Instructure to consumer marketing campaigns such as the “Heroes of the Community” campaign for banQi.
All of that seems even more impressive when you consider that Sherlock Communications was founded in 2015, starting life as a Brazil-based agency with three full-time employees and a small office in São Paulo. It has since grown into a regional player, with more than 50 consultants and a physical presence in 11 countries.
Last year saw impressive 38% growth, with new business from The Mayo Clinic, Betfair, Kelloggs, Acast, Getty Images, Zoho Corp, The Irish Government, and FLIR Systems. They join a roster that includes Philips, Taboola, Manhattan Associates, Airfox, Freshworks, Indeed.com, Toluna, Better Collective, and DOBOT.—PH
Weber Shandwick (IPG)
Interpublic’s Weber Shandwick is a relative newcomer to the Latin America region, having opened its first wholly-owned office there in 2011. But under an energetic leadership team including Latin America chair Laura Schoen, Brazilian CEO José Luiz Schiavoni (whose firm, S2 Publicom was acquired eight years ago), and Mexcan managing director Amanda Berenstein. With the support of a strong management team, and a vision for blending traditional public relations with some of the most sophisticated digital and creative capabilities in the region (Weber acquired Brazilian digital marketing specialist Capuccino in May), the firm has built out a network of close to 300 people in wholly-owned offices in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, supported by affiliates in Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Weber Shandwick achieved double-digit growth across the region in 2019, with Mexico continuing its hot streak as the market’s fastest growing major firm. In Brazil, the firm added Natura to its roster including Aon, Sul America, AC Camargo Cancer Center and Itau Bank. In Mexico, there was new business from Nintendo, Directv GO, Skechers, and Carl’s Jr., while the firm continues to work with IBM (regional coordination), Honeywell, GM, LALA, (Latin America´s largest dairy company), and Ikea. And in the relatively new Colombian office, the firm’s clients include Havaianas, Primax (Colombia’s third largest gas station company), and Aon.
Weber Shandwick Mexico worked with IKEA to announce the brand’s arrival in the country, focusing on the Ikea brand’s commitment to the Mexican market in the context of a new political climate hostile to foreign business. The digital team in Brazil, meanwhile, broke through the chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic to help clients such as Marilan, Gomes da Costa and Ajinomoto engage and guide both their customers and employees online. And in its first year of operation in Latin America, United Minds, Weber Shandwick’s management consultancy specializing in change, enjoyed a year of strong growth servicing Itaú, Unimed, Ultrapar and Novartis Colombia.—PH
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