Today, Virtue, the creative agency born from VICE, and El Rey, the entertainment brand founded by Robert Rodriguez, have joined forces to launch LA REYNA, an agency partnering with brands seeking to connect with the rising US Hispanic market.
Over the past 50 years, the Hispanic demographic in the United States has been on a rapid upward trajectory. But what was once a predominantly foreign-born population, is now encompassed by 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations, much of which is comprised of youth; as 6 out of 10 millennials or younger are Latinx. This cultural shift has resulted in a surge of diverse tastes and interests, blurred lines of identity and a transcultural mindset among younger generations.
“Historically, the US Hispanic population has been treated as one single entity. LA REYNA is an opportunity to abandon this ineffective approach and allow brands to connect authentically with this diverse audience. Virtue is an expert in developing culture platforms that speak to youth worldwide and in a moment where the market is demanding accountability, our strategic partnership is more than just an agency, it’s a game changer for the Latinx community.“ Robert Rodriguez, Film Director, Chairman & Founder of El Rey Network.
Virtue and El Rey’s combined expertise and resources will enable LA REYNA to deliver strategic and creative services to brands, while leveraging the specialized teams – including analytics, production, and technology - of Virtue to round out a versatile agency offering. LA REYNA will be headquartered in Austin, Texas.
“We’re going beyond just starting an advertising agency, we have cemented a cultural hub in Texas generating provocative thought leadership, creative services and content that accurately reflects the nuances of Latinx,” said Theresa Vargas Wyatt, Chief Growth Officer. “Robert has spent 25 years redefining what it means to be a Latinx in entertainment, and the industry is just catching on. Now LA REYNA will redefine what it means to be a Latinx consumer.”
LA REYNA will offer its brand partners:
- Brand strategy & creative campaigns focused on the Latinx audience
- Integrated production ranging from film to experiential
- Brand IP and sustained programming, leveraging the entertainment and publishing roots of LA REYNA.
- Cultural access, via LA REYNA’s network of Latinx creatives, influencers, and cultural figures
“Between El Rey’s film & entertainment roots and Virtue’s publisher pedigree, our respective expertise seamlessly compliments each other as we launch this hybrid organization - one part agency, one part production house,” said Ryan Mack, President, Virtue. “By combining our resources, capabilities, and insights, we hope to properly connect brands with this underserved, yet increasingly important, market.”
They key principals of LA REYNA include:
- Omar Quiñones – Managing Director/Chief Strategy Officer brings over 15-year experience in advertising joins from Anomaly where he was Group Strategy Director.
- Theresa Vargas Wyatt – Chief Growth Officer brings over 15 years of experience in business development specific to the Latinx consumer and joins from El Rey Network where she was Vice President Brand & Corporate Development.
- Josh Stein – Chief Operating Officer joins from El Rey Network where he was a key member of the corporate development team. He has also held senior positions at Dr. Phil McGraw’s Bird Street Books, and the Latin-targeted lifestyle channel MiCasa.
- Robert Rodriguez - Creative Chairman who will be supported by a team of creative directors pulled from the combined networks of Virtue and El Rey.
In its first brand partnership, LA REYNA has teamed up with AB-InBev’s Mexican beer brand, Estrella Jalisco. Together, they will be hosting an immersive and creative experience in Austin, Texas on November 2. “Night of the Stars,” will celebrate the heritage of the brand and Mexico, while toasting to a progressive and innovative future.
“The Latinx consumer has always been a focus of our brand, but they are quickly becoming a major priority for the entire beer industry, not only because of their growth in population, but more importantly, the influence they have on culture,” said Yonathan Bendesky, Senior Brand Director, Anheuser-Busch Mexican Imports. “LA REYNA is poised to tap into that cultural influence and help it grow. The combination of Robert, Virtue and all the capabilities they offer is going to help our brand stay on the cusp of what’s happening in culture and show up in places that are meaningful to this consumer. We’re looking forward to partnering with them on this upcoming project and beyond.”
LA REYNA has also begun partnering with global collaborative workspace network, WeWork, on brand programming that will roll out in 2019.
The agency will also be housed in WeWork’s downtown Austin location.