Fingerhut effort uses TV spots for catalog

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Fingerhut cos.' first TV advertising in years will break May 12 in Chicago on Telemundo and Univision to tout its extensive merchandise catalog for the Hispanic market.

Information about its soon-to-launch Spanish-language Web site could be added to the spots.

The Spanish-language Web site will be accessible from the company's English-language Web site (, according to an executive close to the company. It will be a stripped-down version of Fingerhut's general market site for now.

Eventually, the site will include Spanish-language descriptions of the thousands of products Fingerhut sells, according to the executive.


A spokesman for Federated Department Stores' Fingerhut unit confirmed the project, saying the Web site would incorporate cultural insights that speak to Hispanic consumers, not just Spanish translations of the traditional general marketing materials. It could take a while for that cultural initiative to be launched, and the initial Web link will concentrate on Spanish text, the executive said.

The site is being translated by TerraSpan.

The spokesman for Fingerhut said cultural insights would be incorporated in the catalog, which should be arriving in mailboxes this week or next. The catalog's cover will show Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.

About 15% of Fingerhut's customers are Hispanic.

Fingerhut last year conducted a three-week TV, radio and print advertising test in San Juan, P.R. The test proved so successful, the company said it had to hire 100 operators to handle the influx of calls. The advertising for the test was handled in-house.

Now, Fingerhut is ready to tout its offerings to Hispanic Chicago-area consumers. Sanchez & Associates, Chicago, will handle the TV advertising, the spokesman said. He said, however, it is uncertain if the agency will handle other advertising efforts for Fingerhut.


It's believed the Spanish Web link and catalogs will target the traditional Fingerhut consumer: 18-to-40-year-old women with low to moderate incomes.

Robert Hinchcliffe, an analyst in the New York office of Santander Investment, specializing in the Hispanic market, said an increasing number of companies would advertise on Internet portals such as and that have Spanish-language versions.

Mr. Hinchcliffe said it is a good business decision for Fingerhut, considering the negligible costs of launching a Web site that could bring in millions of dollars in revenues from newly contacted consumers.

Of the more than 31 million Hispanics in this country, about 15% are online, he said.

Mr. Hinchcliffe speculated such a site could be a way for Fingerhut to increase sales across Latin America, where about 3% of people are online.

"There is huge growth potential," he said.

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