Muscular Dystrophy Association Taps Grupo Samba

Grupo Samba has been selected to handle the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s first national marketing program targeting Hispanics.

The Dallas-based subsidiary of Dieste & Partners was chosen following a national review of agencies. Finalists included Bromley Communications in San Antonio and The Bravo Group of New York.

The six-figure account will extend the MDA’s experimental local and regional Hispanic efforts, which began in 1999.

Said MDA spokesperson Bob Mackle: “We wanted to educate and communicate better; and second, we recognize the incredible potential for this market on the fundraising side just because of the population growth and their growing economic power … Right now we feel we’ll have the market to ourself because there aren’t a lot of nonprofits targeting this group.”

The MDA’s first Spanish-language campaign will not be a fundraising effort, however.

“Our goal is to educate … [and] get more people who could use our services to start using them,” said Mackle.

The Tucson, Ariz.-based foundation, best known for celebrity chairman Jerry Lewis and his “Jerry’s kids” advertising campaign, will take a different tack when approaching the Latino market.

“There’s a lot of things we do that Spanish-speaking audiences just wouldn’t understand. We’re working on a program both from a language and culture perspective that will fit that market,” said Mackle.

Repositioning a St. Patrick’s Day shamrock promotion as a butterfly-themed effort and adding soccer to a list of sponsored athletics programs for children are among the first changes the client and agency will work on for the Latino market.

The relatively new Grupo Samba was selected because, said Mackle, “we liked their creative and they way they try to integrate all different aspects of marketing into the program. They actively went after some of their clients to see if we could build partnerships with some of them.”

Grupo Samba, a direct marketing and Internet-focused agency, began operating as a division of Dieste & Partners last fall.