Canadian digital agency opens hub here

Critical Mass, a Canadian digital marketing agency, has opened a Latin American hub in San José to service global clients. Critical Mass Latin America will support HP with regional projects as part of its role as global digital agency of record.

In Latin America, consumers’ media consumption and shopping habits are evolving at an unprecedented rate, the Calgary company said. Today, there are more active social network users in the region than North America and mobile phone penetration is nearing 70 percent of the population, it added. Digital advertising is still only a fraction of the media dollars spent, but that is quickly changing with 20 percent growth over the next four years, the firm estimated. In e-commerce, over 30 percent of internet users now shop online, a population that continues to grow in the double digits each year, it said, adding that there’s no sign of this shift changing in the near future.

“As global digital agency of record to world-class brands such as HP, Critical Mass creates extraordinary experiences that customers want to use,” said Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass. “As consumers habits in Latin America are changing, brands need to strongly consider how they create a cumulative customer experience – across channels, devices, borders and time – and Critical Mass is strongly positioned to be the global and regional partner to provide universal programs and local experiences.”

Critical Mass’ Latin America office in San José shares an office with The Hangar Interactive, a digital production facility wholly owned by the agency. Founded in 2009, and profitable within two years, the success and experience of building The Hangar Interactive helped Critical Mass to see the potential in the regional talent pool and the accessibility of the marketplace, the firm said. Today, The Hangar Interactive is now home to more than 90 digital designers and developers, it added.

“Throughout the Omnicom agency network, we’ve seen strong demand for an agency partner to help global brands address their digital business needs in Latin America,” said Carmen Baez, president, DAS Latin America at Omnicom Group.  “Critical Mass has a deep understanding of the complexity of digital communications options facing consumers today. They are the perfect partner to help companies create a well-rounded brand experience for their customers over time. With its strong global agency of record relationships and experience setting up a successful business in Latin America, Critical Mass is well positioned to succeed as the digital agency leader in the region and around the world.”

Leading Critical Mass Latin America is Jaime Escobar, general manager. Working with him are Enrique Ottone, creative director, and Miguel Alvarez, technology director. Before moving to San Jose, Escobar and Ottone worked at Critical Mass in the agency’s offices in Toronto and Calgary. Alvarez joined Critical Mass from Possible Worldwide in Costa Rica, where he managed development.

In addition to the leadership team, Critical Mass said it is developing and recruiting for regional talent in the areas of creative, strategic planning, account management and marketing science. The agency will also relocate talent from its global network to the region, it said.

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