Democrats Use World Cup to Reach Hispanic Voters

Games Offer Early Start, Way to Target New Immigrants

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- It may only be June, but with a month of World Cup programming offering a perfect media opportunity to target U.S. Hispanics, Democrats are kicking off the advertising and marketing battle for the Hispanic vote this November.
The latest ad campaign of the Democratic Party mixes politics and Hispanic soccer ardor.
The latest ad campaign of the Democratic Party mixes politics and Hispanic soccer ardor.

Hoping to grab the attention of newer Hispanic immigrants and recapture votes that went to President Bush in 2004, the New Democratic Network tomorrow launches a $2 million TV and radio campaign. The message will be reinforced through distribution of soccer jerseys and balls emblazoned with the campaign's tagline.

Mostly in Spanish
Ads will air mostly in Spanish in 70 markets under the theme "Mas que un partido," a play on words in Spanish that can mean either "More than a game" or "More than a political party."

TV ads will air in Albuquerque, N.M.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; El Paso, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas; Denver and Phoenix. Radio will air in all 70 markets during the five-month campaign. The ads will air initially during the World Cup on Spanish-language network Univision, which is broadcasting all 64 games, as well as on Fox Sports en Español. After the World Cup, the media schedule will continue on other soccer-related broadcasts.

The radio spot from Elevacíon, Washington, features the voice of soccer commentator Andres Cantor, best know for his call of "Goooollll" during games. The first TV spot, set in a soccer stadium, features a soccer ball stamped with the tagline and a voice-over in Spanish: "For years we have been awaiting this moment. Our country is ready to once again be the great nation that we all dreamed of. ... Get in the game. Join the team. Democratas Unidos."

The spots change each week and later ones will use the branding message but get into more specific issues, NDN officials said.

Unhappiness over immigration
The ads break as Democrats are trying to seize on Hispanics' unhappiness over the immigration debate in Washington. Democrats and Republicans both say that the biggest Hispanic vote in play is that of newer immigrants who still speak Spanish at home and haven't yet developed long-term party voting patterns.

The New Democratic Network spent $8.5 million running ads aimed at Hispanics during the 2004 elections in eight states, including $6 million for Spanish-language ads. Earlier this year, NDN ran an immigration-related Hispanic radio campaign.

NDN President Simon Rosenberg said the new ad campaign doesn't mention immigration, but does try to capitalize on the activism that sparked immigration protests in a number of cities this year. He said the immigration debate had "woken up" many Hispanics about the importance of politics, and the campaign seeks to swing them over to the Democratic Party.

"Many Hispanic immigrants don't understand what Republicans and Democrats stand for," he said. "It is this community we are targeting. There is work to be done to help them understand who we are, to explain our core values of opportunity, responsibility and fair play."
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