Interpublic Group is selling a majority stake in multicultural agency Casanova//McCann to its long-time president and CEO Ingrid Otero-Smart.
Terms weren’t disclosed but IPG retains a minority interest in the shop and it will remain part of the McCann network as an affiliated agency.
Founded as Casanova Pendrill Publicidad in 1984, the agency grew throughout the late 1980s and 1990s to become the largest independent Hispanic ad agency in the U.S., according to the holding company. IPG acquired the agency In 1999 and four years ago it was renamed Casanova//McCann. It was named most awarded Hispanic advertising agency at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the second consecutive year.
Otero-Smart started her career at McCann Erickson in her native Puerto Rico, then moved to the U.S. to work on the Hispanic market 20-plus years ago. She’s worked with a Who’s Who of household name brands like Nestlé, Chevrolet, MillerCoors, GlaxoSmithKline, IKEA, Denny’s, U.S. Postal Service, Disneyland among many others.
She issued a statement: “This is the right time for us to take control of our future and make a bigger impact in the advertising marketplace.” The deal, she added, “gives us the freedom to make decisions that are right for us. After almost two decades at McCann, it is a dream for me to take Casanova to the next level, to run a world-class agency that is owned by a Latina, and to have the creative and business opportunities of an independent agency. And we can operate on a global level with the resources of McCann behind us.”
The deal is the latest agency divestiture by the holding company. Earlier this year Atlanta-based ad agency Fitzgerald & Co., part of Interpublic for over two decades, was sold back to Dave Fitzgerald, the agency’s founder-chairman. It too remains part of the McCann network.
Dallas-based TM Advertising management bought the agency back in May 2017 after Dailey Advertising made a similar move the previous February.
Sadly, TM’s rebirth didn’t last long: It closed its doors last October after suffering client losses. It was perhaps best known for its iconic work for American Airlines.