McCann forges Hispanic partnership

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Ingrid Otero-Smart and Andrew Schirmer
Ingrid Otero-Smart and Andrew Schirmer

Historically, Hispanic and multicultural marketing efforts by pharmas have been one-offs and afterthoughts. McCann HumanCare aims to change that through a partnership with sister agency Casanova Pendrill dubbed HumanCareHSP.

The HumanCareHSP partners hope to line up long-term assignments on pharma brands instead of the on-again, off-again campaign-based work that's characterized much of the industry's communication with Hispanic audiences in the past.

“The Hispanic market represents 16% of the population,” said Casanova Pendrill chief Ingrid Otero-Smart, “and less than 2% of pharma dollars are spent against this population.”

“In healthcare, you get a gold star for having the multicultural conversation, and then the ­budget cuts come and the first things to go are the things you're least comfortable with,” says McCann CEO Andrew Schirmer.

“A lot of agencies will bring an in-network multicultural agency in on an opportunity, and that works to a degree, but we have got to end this starting and stopping,” said Schirmer.  

That means doing more than a Spanish-language version of an ad or a website.

“Historically, very few pharmas have reached out to Hispanics, and if they have, they've done so very one-dimensionally,” says Otero-Smart. “You can't just do your 30-second ad in Spanish and check that box. TV is a part of it, but creating long-term engagement is about more than awareness, more than a single point of interruption.

Costa Mesa, CA-based Casanova Pendrill's roster consists largely of consumer packaged goods clients—including Nestle, for which the shop handles 13 brands, and General Mills—but the agency has had some Big Pharma assignments, including work for J&J, Boehringer Ingelheim and GSK. The shop's competitive set includes Houston-based Lopez Negrete, Detroit shop GlobalHue, WPP's Bravo Group and Publicis' Conill, part of the Saatchi & Saatchi network.
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