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Burger King Picks Texas Firm as its Hispanic Ad Agency

August 3, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ Burger King Corp. said Thursday it has selected the Texas-based agency Sosa & Associates to handle promotions and advertising directed at the Hispanic market.

The nation’s second-largest fast-food chain behind McDonald’s Corp. has been looking for a new Hispanic ads agency for about a month.

Niether the agency nor Burger King would disclose how much the Miami-based restaurant company plans to spend on the Hispanic market.

In another development, Sosa disclosed Thursday that it had agreed in principle to sell a 49 percent stake to D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles USA, a New York-based agency recently hired as one of Burger King’s main ad agencies.

A Burger King spokeswoman said the Sosa-D’Arcy deal ″was not a major swing factor″ in the selection of Sosa for Burger King’s Hispanic account.

Sosa, based in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the nation’s largest Hispanic ad agencies, handling billings of $40 million and counting among its clients companies such as Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. and GTE Corp.

On Wednesday, Coca-Cola unveiled the first of a series of ads from Sosa that it plans to run through 1992 saluting Hispanic contributions to America.

At Burger King, Sosa succeeds the New York-based ad agency Castor, which resigned last month after three years as Burger King’s Hispanic ad agency.

Gary L. Langstaff, Burger King’s executive vice president of marketing, said Sosa was selected because of its ″keen sensitivity to the various elements of the Hispanic market.″

He said in the statement that Sosa’s partnership with D’Arcy ″will greatly enhance our determination to deliver excellence and sustainability to our integrated marketing strategy.″

Sosa’s job will be to create mostly Spanish-language ads and promotions for Burger King, according to agency president Lionel Sosa.

The 8 1/2 -year-old agency was one of about a half-dozen agencies considered for the job, Burger King officials said.

Lionel Sosa said the agency will resign its assignment as the Hispanic ad agency for Domino’s Pizza to avoid a potential conflict.

Burger King has been reviewing its advertising agencies in the wake of the acquisition of its parent company, Pillsbury Co., by the British-based Grand Metropolitan PLC earlier this year.

In May, Burger King said it would divide its main $215 million advertising assignment between D’Arcy and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, based in New York.

On the matter of the sale of a stake in the Sosa agency, Lionel Sosa said ″a number of different ad agencies have approached us over the years.″

But he said D’Arcy offered ″the best chemistry of creative approach and opportuntity in terms of serving our clients and theirs.″

He said the talks with D’Arcy lasted about a year and grew more serious after D’Arcy won the Burger King assignment.

Sosa said he figures Burger King viewed his agency’s affiliation with D’Arcy as ″a big bonus.″

Clayton Wilhite, president of D’Arcy, said the agency made the investment in Sosa both out of recognition that advertisers are turning to Hispanic agencies for advertising directed at that market and to improve profit margins.

He said D’Arcy handles billings of about $1.8 billion a year.

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