AOL Latino today kicks off a six-month TV, radio,

AOL Latino today kicks off a six-month TV, radio, direct mail and guerrilla effort centered on the concept of empowerment.

“The campaign clearly focuses on the family and the Internet as a tool that’s going to … open the door for the future,” said AOL Latino director of Hispanic marketing Mercy Lugo-Struthers.

The theme will likely resonate with U.S. Hispanics, who, according to a recent AOL/RoperASW study, see the Web as a means of improving their children’s education and career prospects, staying in touch with family and friends abroad and being better-informed consumers.

In a Spanish-language TV spot running on Univision, Telemundo, Telefutura and Azteca America, a father brings home a computer loaded with the bilingual online service, as a voiceover says, “Having AOL Latino is like having your own private tutor for homework help. … It’s having the world at your hand, so they get ahead year after year.”

For the first time, AOL Latino is offering a $50 bounty to existing members when they refer a friend to the service.

Interpublic Group’s Casanova Pendrill in Costa Mesa, Calif., did the ads. Market Vision in San Antonio is handling guerrilla initiatives in Chicago and Miami.

AOL spent more than $230 million on total measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. It has 2 million Hispanic subscribers.