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Multicultural Panel: Be Aggressive

Boston -- “Just do it.”

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

“Test, learn, refresh,” Ortiz challenged attendees at a Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing CTAM Summit panel here Monday, “Profiting from a Multicultural Strategy.”

He continued, “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 reaped significant gains with video, voice and data products against late adopters from both groups by using culturally relevant and humorous advertising.

For instance, 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 sees her bushy ponytails blown back into a Don King-like pigtail.

Similar images, touting a $29.95-per-month offer, were extended into transit space on the New York subway. “Usually, out-of-home ads are used for awareness and as a reminder,” Ortiz said. “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 cable companies 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 tag line, “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.

As such, the campaign -- which, Blanco said has “a PSA-style [public-service announcement] feel to it” -- featured a series of spots that touch on commonalities shared by most Latinos, including desires to enrich their family lives; keeping their children safe; staying connected to loved ones (via video and picture sharing on broadband); and increasing their education by having access to services like Discovery Channel, MSNBC and CNBC.

Blanco also screened a spot emphasizing cable’s value versus taking a large family out. Lynette Pinto, vice president of marketing at NBC U, said the campaign, which was introduced four years ago, ran extensively for 18-24 months on Telemundo and has been revisited subsequently when inventory has been available on the network.

She added that the campaign -- which is still available and now includes a second-generation digital-cable execution -- has been deployed by many cable companies across their systems or in select markets.