The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) issued a strong statement regarding this past week’s controversial decision by the Home Depot to move its Hispanic advertising business from The Vidal Partnership to a general market agency.  The overarching concern is that this may signal a disturbing trend.  This is the statement AHAA issued :  

“Multiple AHAA member agencies participated in the recent Hispanic-specialized agency search and review process conducted by The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. The Hispanic advertising agencies — many small businesses — invested significant time, resources and funds only to realize the process may have been disregarded in the final selection.

AHAA is very concerned about the circumstances surrounding the controversial decision, the process, and the broader implication of these events. Corporations are recognizing the potential revenue possible in targeting the nearly $1 trillion in Hispanic buying power but they are failing to recognize the superior insights, innovation and results delivered by Hispanic-owned and Hispanic-specialized businesses. The value of Hispanic-specialized agencies is being undermined in the name of consolidation and cost-cutting. Claiming to provide cheaper fees and services, general market agencies are squeezing out Hispanic market specialists and AHAA is fighting back on behalf of its member agencies.  

“While we support the great work and six-year relationship The Vidal Partnership had with The Home Depot, we understand the company’s desire to review other partner options,” says Gisela Girard, AHAA chairman and president/COO of Creative Civilization. “In this business, you win some and you lose some. That’s just the competitive nature of our industry and no one argues when the review and selection process is transparent. The trend to undercut Hispanic-specialized advertising is building and AHAA is taking proactive steps to prevent this from happening in the future. We are not willing to stand by and let corporations profit from our market while killing our businesses.”

Wendy’s is currently reviewing relationships with Hispanic-specialized agencies and AHAA is stepping in to voice an opinion on the questionable start to the process. AHAA member agencies report that the recently issued Request for Information from Wendy’s is being led by the current general market agency, which is overseeing the search. AHAA is working swiftly and proactively to ensure fair practice in multicultural review processes and is collaborating with other organizations to bring attention to the concerns of the industry. Updates will be issued as developments occur.”