Strategy Aims to Offset New Competitors Targeting U.S. Latino Market

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- As part of an effort to shore up its position as the largest U.S. wireless service provider, Cingular Wireless is placing new emphasis on Hispanic marketing strategies, said Roberto E. Garcia, executive director for Hispanic marketing.
Cingular has created a new Hispanic marketing department and is shifting resources to focus more intensely on the country's 38 million Hispanics.

New multimedia effort
The company, which has 52.3 million subscribers, is launching a new multimedia effort under the tagline "Adelante," a Spanish term that has a number of meanings, including "moving forward," "getting ahead," "going on" and "welcome." The insight behind the effort is based on immigrants’ desire to find the American dream in their new homeland, Mr. Garcia said.

Mr. Garcia, who joined Cingular earlier this year from Masterfoods to head up the newly created Hispanic marketing department, said the campaign includes TV and magazines as well as local promotions and will run on Spanish-language media. WPP Group’s Bravo Group of Miami created the new TV spots.

Mr. Garcia declined to disclose spending on the Hispanic effort. Cingular's overall media spending was $1.4 billion in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Competing MVNOs
Cingular’s beefed-up Hispanic campaign comes as a number of new players, known as MVNO's for Mobile Virtual Network Operators, are opening up shop to attract Spanish-speaking customers. For one, Movida Communications, operating over the Sprint network, has launched a prepaid service sold through Wal-Mart and other retail locations. The service, with advertising focusing on low-cost phone calls to Mexico, plans to add services culturally and geographically relevant to Hispanic consumers.

As a group, the 38 million who make up the Hispanic market -- about 13% of the U.S. population -- have higher phone bills and purchase more ringtones and other add-ons to personalize phones, industry studies indicate. In targeting Hispanics, Cingular is competing with cell phone marketers including T-Mobile, which is working with Conill, Los Angeles, a Publicis Groupe Hispanic shop; and Sprint PCS, whose account is at Vidal Partnership, New York.

Increased bilingual staff
Cingular itself, however, also has stepped up its in-store efforts to serve the Hispanic market. In areas with high Hispanic traffic such as Los Angeles and Miami, Cingular has increased the bilingual staff at retail and trained employees to interact effectively with Hispanic customers.

At the same time, said Chief Operating Officer Ralph de la Vega, Cingular intends to be a leader in offering Latin music ringtones and other downloadable Hispanic content such as products around Objectivo Fama, a popular American Idol-style talent show that airs on TeleFutura, Univision’s second network. Cingular also has sponsored the Mexican National Soccer team.

"Everybody has a chance," Mr. Garcia said of the new assault on the Hispanic market by wireless service providers. "My job is to limit that chance."

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