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Apparel Maker Appeals to Hispanic Youth

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NEW YORK Marketers at Reebok are planning an advertising campaign to promote the company's new Spanglish Web site, barriorbk.com, which has drawn more than 5,000 unique visitors since it was launched Oct. 13, according to Matias Perel, CEO of LatinThrE3, the Hollywood, Fla.-based interactive agency that designed the site.

While details about the campaign are still in development, Reebok is intent on targeting Hispanic boys and young men ages 12 to 24 who are interested in the company's sneakers and sports apparel, in part because of Reebok's sponsorship involvement with popular Mexican soccer team Chivas.

The site is marked with Spanish and English slogans as well as Spanglish taglines directing visitors to "Volver a Home" or "Return to the Home Page." It also uses the "I am what I am" tag, accompanied by words in Spanish.

Reebok has partnered with Sony Connect to enable visitors to download some 200 free songs focused on reggaeton and other Latin artists.

Chivas goalie Oswaldo Sanchez is featured on many of the site's channels, and visitors to the Radio Rbk section can see listings of the "Enganchez" or favorite songs of Sanchez, which they can listen to for free, after registering their information on the venue. Reebok is building a database of the site's users and is tracking their musical preferences for upcoming advertising, marketing and promotions work, according to Perel.

Visitors can also download wallpaper and screen icons from the site, and can browse product offerings such as the Pump Wrapshear Running Shoe and the latest items from the Chivas team's new line, which are tracking popular with Hispanics, according to Perel. Perel worked with Reebok's global director of advertising and integrated marketing, Mark Fireman, to design and launch the site.

The site's audio mixing technology allows users to mix their own music and share it with other visitors, says Perel. Reebok, in turn, has built a sweepstakes around asking visitors to the site to vote on which songs they like best.

Barriorbk.com, which is accessible from the English-language rbk.com site for Reebok, also contains a video game that allows visitors to move certain characters in different styles of Reebok shoes to different popular songs.

"We know what type of music they like, and we are also gathering additional information about this from this program. It's about building a community," Perel said.

The Web site investment marks Canton, Mass.-based Reebok's first foray into Hispanic marketing. The company has not spent any ad dollars on traditional TV or print buys for the U.S. Hispanic market, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Reebok spent $45 million on media buys for TV and print in 2004 and $30 million through June of this year, according to TNS.

According to sources, the company will initiate a review to seek an agency to produce additional Hispanic work, but exact details of the process have not yet been finalized.

Officials from Reebok did not immediately return calls seeking comment.