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Power of Hispanic Purse Propels Modelo to Success

And Importer Crown Is Planning English-Language Ads

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How powerful is the Hispanic beer consumer? Consider that one of the fastest-growing brands in all of beer has been propelled almost entirely by the demographic.

Modelo Especial, a crisp pilsner with a fat-bottomed bottle and gold-foil adorned white label, gets about 80% of its consumption from Hispanics, according to Crown Imports. The third-largest import behind Corona Extra and Heineken, Modelo grew 15.7% last year, making it the third-fastest growing import among the top 10, trailing only Anheuser-Bush's Stella Artois and Heineken USA's Dos Equis, according to shipment data from Beer Marketer's Insights.

But Modelo grew by spending just $10 million in measured media, compared with more than $20 million a piece for Stella and Dos Equis, according to Kantar Media. "It's not a brand that shouts a lot. It hasn't had the multimillion dollar advertising campaign," said Jim Sabia, exec VP-marketing for Crown . "It's a very quiet, confident brand and it's resonating with consumers we believe because of the liquid itself ... but also its brand personality, its brand character, the look and feel of it, the bottle with the foil."

Although Modelo has been in the states since 1990, Crown only recently started selling the beer on tap as it seeks a wider audience.

The brand is poised to make an even bigger play for the mainstream drinker, with plans for its first English-language advertising later this year. La Comunidad is the brand's Hispanic agency. Crown is looking for a new agency to handle the English-language ads, the importer said.

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