Seven years ago, when Jeffrey Sharlach founded The Jeffrey Group, many industry experts viewed Latin America as too risky, too fragmented and too unstable. Even today, some of the large multinational agencies are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the region. In the meantime, Sharlach has built a formidable business, operating its own offices in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico (in addition to its Miami headquarters) and working with the cream of the local PR agency crop in every other Latin American country, providing effective pan-regional representation for a client list that recognizes the importance of the emerging markets south of the border.
The Jeffrey Group has become the agency of choice for major corporations and dot-com start-ups looking to build visibility through Latin American. Palm selected the firm after a review that included major global PR firms, and will be working with the firm in a market where more people are expected to connect to the Internet using handheld devices than through their PCs. British Airways, which had used individual agencies in each of the six countries it serves, turned to Jeffrey for a pan-regional approach. Lycos retained the firm to handle the launch of its brand in Latin America.
With new business from Eastman Kodak and Lernout & Hauspie, and continuing assignment for long-time retainer clients such as Discovery Networks, MasterCard International, and Nintendo, The Jeffrey Group will end the year with more than $3 million in fees, up 40 percent from last year.