In a special ceremony during the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History acquired objects documenting the evolution and legacy of Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates which became the top billing Latino agency in the industry and was named Southwest Agency of the Year among all such firms in 1996 by Adweek Magazine. The donation by Lionel Sosa, Ernest Bromley and Adolfo (Al) Aguilar includes agency business records, public service announcements, the 1988 Clio award for “Hispanics get AIDS” which was the first Clio to be awarded to a Latino agency, other printed materials and video of landmark campaigns developed for companies such as American Airlines, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Kroger Grocery and Western Union as well as a print Coca-Cola tribute marking the passing of Tejana singer, Selena in 1995 and featured on the back of People magazine.
“Advertising has developed into the language of consumer culture,” said Peter Liebhold, curator for and chair of the museum’s Work and Industry division. “But as technology and marketplace demographics have changed, that language has needed to evolve. The success of Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates in marketing to the rapidly growing Latino population is a valuable example of one such shift.”
Videos of the agency’s campaigns will become part of the museum’s upcoming business history exhibition, “American Enterprise.” Set to open July 1, the exhibition includes an “Advertising Business” wall exploring the industry’s evolution as Americans changed how they thought about their roles as producers and consumers. The Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates story will also be told in 2016 with the exhibition’s “New Perspective” case that features rotating stories.
Originally founded by Sosa in 1981 as Sosa & Associates, the company has undergone a series of mergers and name changes but the commitment to innovative marketing techniques has remained constant. Other key Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates achievements include Sosa being named Advertising Executive of the Year by Adweek in 1993, the winning of seven National Addy’s, the most awarded to any Hispanic ad agency in the U.S in 1998 and a stellar reputation as a transcultural advertising agency that distinguished itself as pioneers of culturally relevant advertising to the Hispanic market.
The objects will join the museum’s existing advertising collection which are both archival materials (documents, photographs, oral histories, film and video) and three-dimensional objects (packaging, point-of-sale displays, signage, premiums, personal objects from advertising agents). Among campaigns in the national collection are those from Alka-Seltzer, Cover Girl, Nike, Ivory Soap and more, as well as business papers from major agencies such as NW Ayer whose records span from 1849-1851 and from 1869-1996. Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar will participate in telling their story for the museum’s Archives Center where oral histories serve as valuable resources for researchers.
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the richness and complexity of American history. The museum helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. It is currently renovating its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on business, democracy and culture. For more information, visithttp://americanhistory.si.edu. Located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.