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Advice: Go Strong With Ethnic Pitches

Boston— “Just do it,” William Ortiz said last week.

No, he wasn’t pitching athletic shoes. The president of the multicultural division of branding, marketing and advertising agency GlobalWorks, which counts Cablevision Systems Corp. as a client, used Nike’s tagline as a call to cable operators to take a more aggressive stance in pursuing business opportunities with African-American and Hispanic consumers.

“Test, learn, refresh,” Ortiz challenged attendees at a CTAM panel, “Profiting From a Multicultural Strategy,” held here July 17. “These are opportunities you shouldn’t ignore. Marketing people who are not doing this are delinquent in their jobs. You owe it to your company and its shareholders.”

Ortiz said Cablevision had reaped significant gains with video, voice and data products against late adopters from both groups by using culturally relevant and humorous advertising. For example: GlobalWorks tapped the iconic stature of black hair in a TV spot for data product Optimum Online. Emphasizing the product’s speed, the young daughter of a mother and father with equally impressive hairdos see her bushy ponytails blown back into a Don King-like pigtail.

Similar images, touting a $29.95 per month, were extended into transit space on the New York City subway. “Usually, out-of-home ads are used for awareness and as a reminder,” said Ortiz. “In this case, they generated tons of calls.”

Pedro Blanco, president and chief creative officer of Blanco-Lorenz Entertainment Branding, echoed Ortiz in saying that operators can benefit from taking “active, aggressive” stances in the multicultural space.

Blanco said that cable operators aiming to reach Hispanics must invest in research to find out “about how Latino families live and interact” in order to appreciate the multigenerational family dynamic. It would also be prudent for distributors to realize that the “typical customer does not exist.” Rather, they must reach out to “a bouquet” of people with diverse interests and needs.

“Don’t pick a single service or platform,” he said, emphasizing that Latinos are interested in an array of products.

Blanco also focused attention on an evergreen awareness campaign his company built for cable, threading NBC Universal and its Spanish-language broadcast network, Telemundo.

The campaign traded on the tagline, “Quiero Mas. Quiero Cable,” which translates into “I want more. I want cable.” Blanco’s company rooted the initiative around several key tenets: reintroduce the value of cable; use real-life scenarios that Hispanic viewers could see themselves in; and touch on cultural and emotional hot buttons.