I was very surprised by the recent communiqué from AHAA regarding the Home Depot agency review.

In my humble opinion, it is very off the mark.

(Disclaimer:  my company is not part of AHAA. But we’ve always respected the work that the organization does for the industry. Also, the spending reports and other research they produce are of very high quality and extremely useful.)

A Hispanic agency only makes sense if it makes sense for the client. If The Home Depot decided to give the Hispanic work to the general market agency, it was their decision to make.

The value of Hispanic-specialized agencies needs to be measured in money. “Superior insights and innovation” mean nothing if the client doesn’t get a good return on the money invested.

We at Agua have also lost clients to general market agencies. In occasion, however, clients have entrusted us with General Market and even African American projects.

In both cases, clients made very rational decisions: they thought we could provide the best value. And we believe we did.

The existence of a Hispanic agency can only be justified if, when it comes to targeting Hispanics, we are better than general market agencies.

It’s not a matter of banking on the Hispanic population never acculturating, or hoping that they will forever keep Spanish as their main language.

It’s about developing the right insights about the market, and use that insight to implement marketing actions that will make money for the client.

More money than if they use a non-Hispanic agency.

More money, in fact, that if they put equivalent resources into non-Hispanic projects.

I don’t believe AHAA’s role is to police Hispanic agency reviews. We don’t want to be selected because there’s some sort of exclusivity on the Hispanic market.

We want the work because we can deliver solid ROI and make brands grow.

We want to be selected because clients believe we are the best choice for them.

And if they pick us, we want to make sure they know, in their hearts and wallets,  that they made the right choice.