Comparing traditional Hispanic advertising, shaped by San Antonio’s own Mad Men in the early ’80s, to what’s happening in the historic Southtown digs of a growing ad agency started by four enterprising millennials, is like relating mango to mangonada.
And Chamoy Creative is on a mission to spice things up.
Having earned sizable regional accounts and a reputation for successful, high-energy ad campaigns, Chamoy is celebrating two years in business this month. But its founders haven’t picked out the birthday piñata just yet.
They are currently busy expanding their team and the space they occupy at Wong’s Grocery Building on South Flores Street, purchasing and rearranging furniture, and keeping up with the job of creating fresh and strategic ads for some pretty cool clients.
You might recognize some of the brands Chamoy has served: Santikos Entertainment, VIA Metropolitan Transit, The DoSeum, WB Liquors, and bodybuilder JoJo Gonzalez. The agency’s newest client, CommuniCare Health Centers, recently selected Chamoy over more established area agencies in a competitive request-for-proposals process.
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, the family-owned restaurant business with six decades of San Antonio history, recently signed Chamoy as its first ad agency. The objective: give Bill Miller’s a consistent voice in its social media and digital content.
The seeds for Chamoy Creative were sown in 2015 when Bromley Communications, an early leader in Hispanic consumer marketing, hung the closed sign on its doors at the IBC Centre. Some of its 40 staff members left for other agencies here and elsewhere. Chamoy’s co-founders stayed. Now they offer that big-brand-style service to local and regional clients.
“Others went to other agencies or towns, but we wanted the challenge of creating something for ourselves and an agency that stands out,” Lauri Revilla said of two of her three Chamoy co-founders, Oscar Peña, Alejandro Perez-Segnini, and her sister Fernanda Revilla.
“We also realized a lot of agencies are going away because traditional advertising has changed over the years,” she added. “We wanted to bring an agency to San Antonio that is always innovating.”
If you were to make a TV spot with the goal of attracting young, successful entrepreneurs to San Antonio, this team of Millennial creatives would be the one to write and direct it – perhaps even appear in it.
Interestingly, none of the four founders were born or raised in San Antonio. They met while working on national brands like Western Union at Bromley and created Chamoy while co-working at Geekdom. Lauri, the content marketing director, and Fernanda, the strategic creative director, grew up in Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico.
Perez-Segnini, the art and motion director, is “a true artist who helps brands communicate with their target market visually and interactively,” according to Chamoy’s website. He spent 24 years in Venezuela.
Peña, the digital marketing director, grew up in Mexico City, Chicago, and San Antonio.
Christian Torres, a former community manager at Geekdom, recently joined the team as account marketing coordinator. He has lived in San Antonio the longest, since age 5.
So while this city may not be their own birthplace, San Antonio is home to Hispanic marketing, and, “We know these consumers and how to talk to them,” Lauri said.
The startup grew quickly: Chamoy Creative is now a certified small, minority-owned, historically underutilized, and emerging small business enterprise.
“The hardest thing is starting a business – it’s a challenge,” Peña said. “But you learn so much from every client you get. When we look back, we can see how much we have improved everything – our pitch strategy, our equipment – everything has gotten better and we can pay our bills on time.”
WB Liquors has a lot to do with that.
“They are our first full-service client and first regional client. We do everything from their social media management, content creation, video and radio ads, print and in-store collateral,” Lauri said. “They are open to us being involved in all their meetings and strategic planning. We are truly working as their partner. We are thankful for the opportunity and they appreciate the creativity we bring.”
Last year, Chamoy received two local American Advertising Federation Addy Awards in recognition of their work. This year, the team submitted 30 pieces for consideration, six times more than in 2016, and is looking toward the Feb. 25 announcement with confidence.
“Our priority is to do everything with quality so the client says ‘Wow’ … to create something that is memorable,” Perez-Segnini said.
To meet that mission, the team has grown to seven, with two more coming on board this year.
A lot of people have recently expressed interest in joining the Chamoy team: some of them live in Austin and want to move to San Antonio, some of them already live here and work for big names like USAA – “though we can’t match their benefits,” Lauri said.
“San Antonio is a creative community with good advertising,” Perez-Segnini added. “We have the talent and knowledge here. We are doing what we love and doing it full-time.”