Ruth Gaviria back in Meredith, according to First Republic Bank…or not?

A funny note. Ruth Gaviria is back in Meredith Hispanic Ventures. At least that’s what an ad on page 13 of the current edition, dated March 28, of the The New York Observer says. Page 13 of the weekly New York newspaper displays a vertical ad that occupies two thirds of the page. The ad, by First Republic Bank, shows a large picture of Hispanic media executive Ruth Gaviria (see scanned image  at the end of this article). Below the picture there is a Gaviria quote saying: “At First Republic you’re a person, not a number. First Republic really cares about me.”

(Click here to enlarge)

The most interesting thing, however, is that the ad says that Gaviria’s position is Vice President Hispanic Ventures, Meredith Publishing Group (see scanned image above). Wow! We reported in October last year that Univision Communications named Ruth Gaviria, senior vice president of corporate marketing, based in the company's New York office.

Gaviria was previously vice president and executive director of Hispanic Ventures at Meredith Corp, where she was hired in 2004. Now, has Gaviria moved back to Meredith as the ad implies? Unlikely. Less than two weeks ago our Senior Correspondent Laura Martinez reported about an Univision Marketing event promoting the male grooming ad category, in which Gaviria provided the introductory words.

Most likely First Republic created the ads at a time when Gaviria still was working in Meredith Hispanic ventures. Funny how these things happen, particularly to people (Gaviria), and clients (First Republic Bank) and agencies that work in the media and advertising business!

This is not the first time that First Republic Bank is in “hot multicultural waters”. In 2007 a First Republic Bank print ad featured two African Americans, including a man much admired by the African American community in San Francisco, Ronnie Lott, saying: “First Republic is always so attentive, they make us [African Americans] feel like we are their only clients.”

The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to First Republic in 2007 “questioning First Republic Bank's white and elitist lending and service practices… which do not meet the standards set forth in your First Republic Bank ad.”

Well, good news for PR agencies! Some more damage control may have to be done….