D.C. lobby shop launches Spanish-language website

In a sign of the growing power of the Hispanic community in business and politics, a leading Washington lobby firm has created a separate Spanish-language website to cater to clients.

It is an unusual move for K Street, but Ogilvy Government Relations said the time was right to embrace a bi-lingual approach.

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“We have been thinking about this for a while. The Hispanic world has grown tremendously not just in politics but also in the business world,” Moses Mercado, co-chairman of the firm, told The Hill.

Others at Ogilvy said the Spanish-language website could help bring in new business.

“If you’re a Latin American company looking to do business in America, we are bringing an extra touch of cultural sensitivity. We know the players here in Washington and we can help your company,” said Dean Aguillen, a senior vice president at Ogilvy.

Mercado and Aguillen are prominent Hispanic lobbyists who have operated in the upper echelon of Democratic Party politics. Mercado was a deputy chief of staff to then-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.), while Aguillen worked for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) when she was House Speaker.

Monday’s launch of the website — found at www.spanish.ogilvygr.com — corresponds with the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month and a week-long meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington.

“I applaud these efforts to highlight the importance of outreach to the Hispanic community,” said Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, in a press release from Ogilvy announcing the website.

The firm is looking to drum up business in heavy Hispanic areas in the United States like Dallas, Houston and Miami, and says the Spanish-language site can help in that outreach. It could also prove to be useful for clients already on the books, such as Ports America, which operates several ports and terminals throughout North America, Mexico and Chile.

“We have never pitched ourselves as being able to do business with the Hispanic community, though we have always had that capability. This will reintroduce us to our friends in that area as well as to people that don’t know us yet,” Mercado said.

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