Republica Havas strikes a unique client partnership that defines meaningful and saves jobs in the agency’s home city of Miami, Florida


A quick deal pulled together by Republica Havas in one night saved 400 local jobs and drew together two longterm clients amid the Covid-19 crisis. While the Miami-based agency’s client, Sedano’s Supermarkets, was struggling to keep up with a massive surge in business across all its stores, another longtime client, Cuban restaurant chains Versailles and La Carreta, were faced with no option but to lay off staff across 12 restaurants to stay afloat throughout the government-mandated shutdown. Recognizing the vastly different challenges faced by both clients, Co-Founder, President, and Chief Creative Officer of Republica Havas Luis Casamayor said a creative solution became crystal clear. To respond to Sedano’s Supermarkets’ demand for up to 400 temporary staff members and fill those positions with the out-of-work employees of their neighbors, Versailles and La Carreta.

Casamayor said: “Sitting at home, cooking dinner and having a glass of wine on the first day we were working from home, I was thinking about all the service industry people who were going to be affected by this. Famous tourist destination, Versailles, and its sister operation, La Carreta, our clients, were preparing to send out a letter to all of their employees, letting them know they would have to let go of 90% of their staff until they could reopen.”

“On the other hand, our client Sedano’s Supermarkets was telling us they needed to find employees fast. Right now, for grocery stores across the country, not only South Florida, it’s very hectic with high demands. They can’t fill the shelves fast enough, and they empty even faster. They need employees in all departments right now. After a day of speaking to both clients, we thought what a great thing it would be to bring these guys together. We thought of all the people that Versailles and La Carreta had to let go and that Sedano’s Supermarkets could immediately hire until the restaurants’ dining rooms can reopen.”

The team at Republica Havas approached the clients, who loved the proposition. Within 48 hours, Versailles and La Carreta employees were applying for the newly created full- and part-time positions at Sedano’s. Casamayor said the partnership holds even more value, as the businesses share a similar history.

“Both of these businesses are run by Cuban families who fled Cuba in the early 1960s to move to Miami temporarily until Castro was gone,” said the CCO. “That temporary move has turned into nearly 60 years. They both came here with nothing and started these businesses from scratch. They’re both still 100% family-owned and operated businesses, who have experienced challenging times in their lives, and this was an opportunity to pay it forward and work together on keeping as many jobs as possible.”


Since the announcement, Casamayor says many major businesses across the U.S. have followed suit. “Two days later, Amazon announced that they’re hiring and others announced similar moves, following this announcement,” said Casamayor. “There weren’t a lot of conversations like this about hiring until we made this announcement, and then others followed. A partnership like this, we were the first to do it. Our clients have a lot of appreciation for their community and their staff, and that shows.”

Casamayor’s business partner, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Republica Havas, Jorge Plasencia, said: “These are longtime clients of Republica Havas, they’ve each been with us well over a decade. We see each other as true partners. We’re truly vested in their business day to day, as they are in ours, and this collaboration saving hundreds of jobs makes us so proud. This news has been covered by all the major TV networks, by print, by digital. The posts and comments on social media have also been off the charts positive. It’s been great to witness the good faith that this idea has haloed to them and to Republica. It’s an overall feel-good story of connecting the dots with clients. We’re always finding new and creative ways for our clients to collaborate. This is taking collaboration to the next level. That’s what makes it so meaningful.”

Casamayor says the crisis has brought out the best in everyone and has made the Group’s work even more meaningful.

“A deal like this could usually take months of negotiation, but we were able to pull it together in 48 hours because Sedano’s and Versailles focused on impacting these individuals in a meaningful way.  Our team also loved it. I don’t know if it’s these troubling times or quarantine, but our work is as strong as ever. Our communication is better. The days seem longer. It’s making us stronger and more committed.”

“Havas is about meaningful work and meaningful connections, and this is the perfect example of that. That inspiration to have these ideas comes with knowing that that is our clear mission from Yannick Bolloré. He made that really clear in our last global leadership meeting. When we announced this collaboration to the agency, everyone was really excited to work on it and be a part of it. Overnight, we were able to save up to 400 jobs. As an agency, we’re able to make that kind of an impact, and I think if the rest of the Group listens to this story and can apply that inspiration, we’ll be in a good place. If others put their heads together, they can make that impact and make a difference in this challenging time.”