Grupo Gallegos

Hispanics comprise nearly 42 percent of the population of Los Angeles. Yet the city’s venerable arts institution The Getty Center has found its mix of antiquities and contemporary work a tough sell among Latinos. That is, until the Long Beach-based marketing firm Grupo Gallegos was hired to spark interest among the city’s Spanish-speaking citizens.

In fact, Grupo Gallegos was so successful in luring fans to a summer concert last July featuring the Grammy Award-winning Colombian singer Andrea Echeverri, that concert-goers caused a traffic jam on the freeway exit leading to The Getty. It’s no wonder Grupo Gallegos is the 2006 winner of the Mediaweek Media Plan of the Year for Best Use of Multicultural Media.

Targeting LA’s young, hip Latinos for a great night of music may not seem like the toughest sell. But that wasn’t the only task The Getty assigned to Grupo. Among its other efforts were driving traffic among Hispanic families to The Getty’s weekend Garden Concerts for Kids series, and creating awareness among Mexican tourists for an exhibition featuring Rembrandt’s late religious paintings.

Multiple tasks, for multiple audiences, on a limited budget. That’s a tough sell. “Most advertisers come to you and say, ‘We’re launching a new flavor of toothpaste. Go for it.’ And what you do is you buy some TV spots and try to reach as many 18-49 viewers as possible,” says Ken Deutsch, Grupo’s principal and media director. “To reach all these different segments of the Hispanic population, for all these different events, we knew we couldn’t just make one ad. We had to get creative.”

Grupo’s first creative undertaking was to run ads in the city’s Hispanic newspapers. “When you look at those newspapers, between the ads and the editorial, they’re pretty boring visually,” Deutsch says. “So what we decided to do was run vibrant, four-color ads versus the typically black-and-white ones.”

If the graphics needed some punch, then so did the copy. Grupo execs note that they never referred to The Getty as a museum, per se. Rather, it was called its proper name: The Getty Center. “Museums can sound boring to families,” says Juan Oubina, Grupo’s creative director. “So we had to communicate that The Getty Center was a fun place.”

Media planning also got creative. When it comes to entertainment, Deutsch says the firm’s proprietary research indicated that Latinos are late planners. Armed with that information, Grupo placed ads for the events it marketed during the week leading up to each specific event. “We knew if we advertised four weeks in advance, it wouldn’t work,” Deutsch adds.

Deutsch also says Internet advertising wasn’t appropriate for these campaigns, noting it’s still difficult to reach enough unique users that are geo-targeted to one specific region. “Univision.com, for example, has a lot of users,” Deutsch says. “But we only wanted to reach those in Los Angeles. And while that site has the ability to geo-target, the number of users is so small, you can’t have as much impact as you need.”

In addition to reaching Spanish-speaking residents, Grupo also targeted bilingual consumers. To do so, the firm looked at local radio stations that targeted English-speaking Hispanics. “It may not seem like a wild thing to do,” says Caro D’Antuono, Grupo’s account manager. “But one thing you’ll find is that many Spanish-speaking agencies only look at the Spanish-speaking market. Our philosophy is that these are Hispanics living in the U.S., so why wouldn’t they use English-language media?”

Indeed, finding the right approach for each segment of the Hispanic market is what Deutsch says sets Grupo apart. “The general market usually sees Hispanics more as a language, or just as people who are not white,” he says. “But there are many different segments within the Hispanic market. And you can’t just reach them as a whole. You have to connect with each of those segments, and motivate them.” A.J. Frutkin is a senior editor for Mediaweek.