Foreign delegations from nations as different as Egypt and Estonia have stopped by the Atlanta marketing and communications firm of Vargas Flores & Amigos (VF&A) to study its techniques for approaching Hispanic and African-American markets in the United States.

The Estonians were interested in how ethnic marketing strategies used in the U.S. might be adapted at home to target Russians and other minority groups.  The Egyptians were interested in how they might be tailored to different ethnic and religious groups at home and in other Arab countries.

The firm’s founders, Dan Vargas and Tony Flores, showed the visitors their approach to “grassroots” marketing  to Hispanic and African-American communities in the U.S. for which they will be honored Sept. 26 by the Atlanta Minority Business Center as the Atlanta Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.

 “In today’s marketplace one ad does not fit all,” says Mr.Vargas, VF&A’s creative director.  “Many opportunities do exist to enhance market share, but many companies fail to recognize the changing pattern of consumers at home and abroad.”

As the man who designed the peach that appears in the Georgia license plate and as the recipient of an award from Gov. Zell Miller for serving as a role model for Hispanic children in the state, Mr. Vargas isn’t voicing sour grapes.  He just thinks that many of the state’s companies are overlooking the buying power of minority groups.

And he points to the joint venture between Baobab, a division of VF&A, and McDonald’s on projects related to Black History Month as an example of an opportunity for what he calls “grassroots marketing.”  For this project, they created the design for a McDonald’s promotion offering “Kente Kups,” paper cups covered by African cloth patterns, and publicity for trips to Africa under the auspices of the Alex Haley Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Flores is currently at work on the Roberto Clemente Friendship Series to be held in Atlanta Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in celebration of the 21st anniversary of the late Pittsburgh Pirates’ Hall of Famer’s 3000 hits and of Hispanic Heritage Month. The series will bring Little League teams from Puerto Rico and throughout the country to Atlanta to play ball.

  For more information concerning the Friendship Series and other VF&A activities, Mr. Flores may be reached by telephone at (404) 873-4943; by fax, (404) 875-6100.