U.S. Cellular Picks LatinWorks

U.S. Cellular Corp. has selected LatinWorks Marketing as its first national Hispanic agency.

The Austin, Texas, independent shop is charged with developing regional and national marketing programs targeting Latino consumers for the Chicago-based wireless service carrier.

A review for the business was prompted by the telecom’s recent entry into the Chicago market, said client director of brand development Peter Cremer.

“We [decided] we needed an agency to work full time to develop marketing communications targeted to the Hispanic community,” Cremer said. In addition to Chicago, work will be directed at the South Texas and Yakima, Wash., markets.

U.S. Cellular has worked with LatinWorks in the past. The agency handled special projects for the firm, including Spanish-language radio and newspaper ads, from 1999 until LatinWorks picked up SBC Communications’ Hispanic account in October 2000. U.S. Cellular continued to use LatinWorks’ executions and updated them internally, Cremer said.

After SBC shifted its account to Dieste Harmel & Partners in Dallas last September, LatinWorks was free to join U.S. Cellular’s review, which had already begun. The two-round review involved undisclosed contenders.

LatinWorks CEO and managing partner Manny Flores described the separation from SBC as being in the “mutual interest” of both parties.

While U.S. Cellular’s past and future Hispanic ad expenditures are undisclosed, the client is clearly devoting more resources given the addition of media in the Chicago market and the use of television.

For its first campaign—which breaks this week in Chicago—LatinWorks will use the strategy and creative it presented in the review. The work promotes U.S. Cellular’s customer satisfaction, said agency vice president of creative services Sergio Alcocer.

Three spots will introduce the first national Spanish tagline, “Te damos la palabra,” which has a double meaning in English: “We give you our word” and “It’s your turn to talk.”

“We think the concept of a company that gives the power back to the customer is a powerful claim in any market,” Alcocer said.

Media continues to be handled by general-market agency Doner in Southfield, Mich.

U.S. Cellular claims to be the nation’s eighth-largest wireless service carrier, serving nearly 4 million customers in 26 states.