Chili's fires up Spanish campaign

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Chili's grill & bar breaks a Spanish-language campaign this week in Miami to tout its signature Baby Back Ribs entee as a compelling substitute for boring old beans and rice.


"That's pretty radical to say to a Hispanic customer," said Victoria Varela Hudson, president and director of account planning for San Antonio-based Cartel Creativo, Chili's new Hispanic agency for creative. Amistad Media Group, Austin, Texas, handles buying for the account, which includes heavy spot radio and TV. The agencies will share planning responsibilities.

Brinker International's Tex-Mex chain is reaching out to the Hispanic market in a strategic way. TV and radio commercials for the Miami ad effort were created to appeal to area Cuban and Caribbean consumers, said Ms. Hudson.

Once the campaign rolls out, ads will be geared more for the Mexican-American market. According to Strategy Research Corp., Cubans make up 51% of the 1.5 million Hispanic population in Miami market. And 63% of the 33 million total U.S. Hispanic population is of Mexican heritage.

The TV commercials feature menu items not traditionally marketed to Hispanic consumers, including Chili's ribs. The agency is working closely with general market agency GSD&M, Austin, Texas, to integrate the commercials with the general market campaign, Ms. Hudson said.

There will be some differences in the general market and Spanish-language executions. For example, the ribs' jingle already well-entrenched in the general market will be absent in Hispanic spots.


"This is first time any major chain restaurant is selling baby back ribs to Hispanics in Spanish," Ms. Hudson said. "Because baby back ribs is a non-traditional Hispanic product, the whole campaign leverages that it is something new."

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