Culture and identity can shape how we interact with the world. For Jorge A. Plasencia, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Republica Havas, heritage is a driving force behind the work he does. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Jorge sat down with us and shared how his heritage and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has shaped his journey to where he is now.
Can you tell us about your role and your journey to the position you are in now?
Whenever I get to stop and reminisce with a question like this, it reminds me that my journey has been one of evolution. I held various roles in media, sports, and entertainment before co-founding Republica in 2006. At Univision, I was part of the team developing integration and cross-platform opportunities for their television, radio, and digital properties. During my tenure at Estefan Enterprises, I was on the management team of several artists, including Shakira, introducing her to the U.S. market. Later, as the first director of Hispanic marketing for the Miami Marlins, I, with the help of my team, was honored to earn the Hispanic Marketer of the Year award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce — and the Marlins won their first World Series championship.
My journey has entailed leadership roles in the production of multiple large-scale events representing groundbreaking achievements for Latinos in the U.S., including:
· “The Last Goodbye,” a 9/11 tribute at the White House
· Super Bowl XXXIII Half-time Show
· 1997 World Series Events
· Shakira’s MTV Unplugged
· The inaugural Latin Grammy Awards
· The historic memorial for “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz
Republica Havas has been the culmination of these past experiences, and our vision will continue to grow as we extend our reach.
In what ways does your heritage help to better inform your work and what parts of your work do you feel the most connected to?
My heritage is everything. I am proud to be a Cuban American. My culture and its richness come up all the time and make the work I do meaningful and authentic.
How does your agency effectively balance engaging Latino consumers across language spectrum and country of origin in brand communications?
While Hispanics may share some fundamental characteristics, the most obvious being the language, there are other traits that bond us, including having a strong faith, a close-knit family unit, a love of our foods and music, and many times, multigenerational households. Although these and other things unite us, Latinos maintain an unshakable, deep bond with their countries of origin, and it is essential to recognize their distinctiveness. These universal, cultural truths resonate the loudest. They make us proud of who we are – they are what make Hispanics Hispanic.
What efforts has your agency offered to support the Latino community in adland?
Last year, we created Vas Con Todos, a Havas-wide campaign dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the Latino community and its achievements. The campaign was such a success that we brought it back again this year. This year’s campaign recognizes the nuances that make Latinos so diverse but calls on us to stick together through empathy and understanding. Vas Con Todos is a rallying cry, celebrating our Hispanic employees and reminding Latinos and other minority groups that their wins are not just their wins, they’re wins for everyone – their families, their friends, their communities.
What have been some of your favorite brand activations around HHM?
So many efforts come to mind. For example, for our client, AARP, we created a very meaningful campaign called “Entrelazados” (woven together), which celebrates how Hispanics are connected in so many ways. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month last year, we held a Fireside Chat over Zoom for Havas employees around the globe with a very special guest, my former boss, Gloria Estefan. I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing her for many years now, but it was a special experience to have her spend time with our team so candidly.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about what your agency is up to this month?
We have several happenings, including a collection of recipes sourced by Latino employees. A roundtable on Owning the Hispanic Narrative, featuring clients Monica Gil from NBCUniversal Telemundo and Tony Waller from Walmart, as well as Jorge Zamanillo from the Smithsonian Latino Museum. We also have a luncheon planned with a variety of foods and sabor, as well as a live cultural performance in The Yard, our outdoor venue on our building’s top floor.