HERSHEY FOODS TO SIGN LATIN SINGER THALIA

Popular Entertainer to Support Candy Giant's Hispanic Marketing

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a move indicative of its widening embrace of the domestic Hispanic market, Hersheys Foods is about to announce a major deal with popular
Photo: AP
Latin singing star Thalia will promote Hershey products to the Hispanic and general market.
Mexican singer Thalia Sodi, according to executives familiar with Hershey's plans.

Hispanic market
The deal will involve the popular Ms. Sodi in representing Hershey's products in both the U.S. general and Hispanic markets.

The strikingly attractive Thalia was a child singer in Mexico City who became a hugely popular star of Spanish-language novelas, or soap operas. She has had numerous Spanish-language hits in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market and, since starting to sing in English too, has become a crossover artist in the last year. She currently has nine albums in Spanish and English on the market.

Planned announcement
A public relations spokesperson said a press release about the matter was being prepared for release on Friday.

Hershey's general market agency, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, will provide advertising services; Dieste, Harmel & Partners of Dallas, Hershey's U.S. Hispanic shop and a member of Omnicom's Diversified Agency Services division, will provide promotional support.

Most of Hershey's earlier low-key efforts in the Hispanic market involved the marketing of only Hershey's Kisses.

Crossover appeal
With the continuing expansion of the domestic Latin market, growing numbers of U.S. marketers are increasingly taking advantage of the crossover appeal of Hispanic stars. For instance, a recent Coca-Cola Co. commercial starring actress Salma Hayek broke simultaneously on Spanish and English-language TV and had dialogue in both languages.

Ms. Sodi already has her own clothing line at Kmart, which competes with Spanish-language TV host Lucy Pereda's women's apparel line at Sears Roebuck & Co., and a clothing range from Daisy Fuentes that is appearing in Kohl’s stores now.

Rival's Hispanic strategy
Late into the Latin market, Hershey's hired Dieste for the first time in 2000 but has not been very active in Spanish-language advertising, unlike rival M&M Mars. Mars supports several brands in the Hispanic market and has tested Latin-oriented products like dulce de leche M&M's, a caramel flavor popular among Hispanics.

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