What's On Your MP3 player/CD changer?
Marrero: I like to experiment with different musical styles and find obscure bands. I'm interested in the Nortec movement, which mixes electronics with countrified Norte -- o music. I also like Hooverphonic, Frank Sinatra and any alternative, progressive music. I'm a music freak; I might not always like what I find through exploring, but I need to check it out.
Lucky for Volkswagen, its Hispanic agency reaches Spanish-speaking consumers in a more meaningful way than via mere translations of Arnold Worldwide's groundbreaking ad work. "We decided to do culture-specific translations," says Daniel Marrero, creative director and partner in Coral Gables, Fla., agency C.O.D., which landed VW's Hispanic business in early 2002. " 'Drivers wanted' " becomes too literal when translated; a lot of Hispanics thought it sounded like a want ad for chauffeurs."
Marrero, his partner and co-creative director Priscilla Cortizas and senior copywriter Martin Cerri navigated the intricacies of Spanish positioning lines and decided on the tag "Agarra calle," which translates to "Hit the road." According to C.O.D., Hispanics, especially new arrivals to the U.S., have a long-standing affinity for the VW brand, and an especially tight bond with their cars. "Usually, because financing and leasing are just starting to take hold in Latin America, when you buy your car you stick with it for at least 10 years," says Marrero.
Building on Arnold's national branding, TV executions from C.O.D. include streetwise, music-led spots "Hop In" and "Alarm" (directed by Coppos' Brian Aldrich and Believe Media's Sanji, respectively) and "High Rider," directed by Steve Beck, which pits the VW Touareg's elevating suspension against that East L.A. staple, the hydraulically-enabled lowrider. Along with the ongoing integration of Latino culture into the mainstream, C.O.D. works to address the youthful ideal prominent in its market. "One of the biggest misconceptions in Hispanic advertising is everything has to be family driven," says Marrero. "By nature, a lot of us have recently come to this country so, there are tight relationships with family. But we need to reflect the different youth targets that are the realities of the market.". Indeed the Hispanic market is far from uniform, with new arrivals from myriad countries, long-established immigrants and second- and third-generation youths all comprising the so-called Hispanic marketplace.
All three of the C.O.D creatives are native Latin Americans; Marrero hails from Mexico, Cortizas from Panama and Cerri from Argentina. "But we also hire creatives who speak Spanish as a second language," says Cortizas. "Even if you're born here, you might not converse as fluently in Spanish, but the culture is there when you come home." The recent economic turmoil affecting relatively affluent countries like Argentina and Venezuela has resulted in an influx of moneyed Latinos to the U.S., and in general, the perceived lines separating Latin and Anglo culture are quickly dissolving. For C.O.D., this means increasingly reaching Hispanics through specialized spots on mainstream media in major urban centers, as opposed to generic work on niche, language-specific outlets. '"We're speaking to all of the subgroups within the market, including 18-year-olds who only listen to English music or TV but are still Hispanic," says Cortizas. "There are many parts to the equation, so we can't just stick to the traditional media vehicles." Marrero adds, "Corporate America has opened its eyes, thanks to the last census. It shows that we're now the largest minority in the U.S."