Messianu, Edelman, Lerma Team For New Hispanic Shop

A trio of multicultural and U.S. Hispanic advertising industry pioneers have teamed up to launch a minority-owned and Hispanic-led full-service communications agency.

Introducing MEL (Messianu/Edelman/Lerma), a creation of Luis Miguel Messianu, Richard Edelman and Peter Lerma.

Messianu is well-known for his time at Miami-based Alma, and for most recently serving as Global Chief Creative Officer for DDB’s activities tied to McDonald’s.

Meanwhile, Edelman is equally renowned for his role as Chief Executive Officer of global PR and communications firm Edelman.

Lerma is a veteran of the U.S. Hispanic advertising and marketing world, and has operated LERMA/ as a successful small agency, winning AdAge‘s 2022 and 2023 Small Ad Agency of the Year honors. For many years, he was one-half of Dallas-based Richards/Lerma.

In a press release distributed on September 20 by, the team behind MEL say the independent entity “will provide expertise in earned-centric media, creative, and digital solutions, through a distinct Latino lens enabling it to develop creative campaigns that represent the cultural traditions and modern lifestyle experiences of bilingual and bicultural Latinos.”

They add that MEL, having been built “on the foundation of experienced and renowned Hispanic marketers,” offers clients “invaluable expertise positions.”

Messianu departed DDB, and Alma, several weeks ago to launch his own venture, “Included.”

Following that launch, Lerma approached him about joining forces. He explains, “This led to very interesting conversations with him, and eventually with Richard Edelman, with whom he was already exploring a partnership. We realized that the combination of the three of us would be mighty, and we are incredibly excited to launch MEL together.”

Messianu will serve as the founding President and Chief Creative Officer of MEL.

“MEL represents a significant milestone in Edelman’s ongoing commitment to serving diverse markets and leveraging the growth potential within the Hispanic community,” Edelman said. “This venture facilitates a dedicated and scalable integration of Hispanic-specialized capabilities with strategic and executional excellence.”

Carla Santiago, the GM of Edelman’s Miami office since March 2020 who has spent time at FleishmanHillard, will serve as MEL’s Chief Operating Officer.

MEL will have offices in Miami, New York, and Dallas.

“We at MEL believe that brands have the potential to make a real difference in society, and our focus on the Latino market and its profound influence on American culture allows us to explore new frontiers beyond conventional advertising,” said Pedro Lerma, CEO of LERMA/. “By harnessing the power of earned media and purpose-driven initiatives, with MEL we aim to foster genuine and impactful connections between brands and their Latino customers.”

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