After a review of undisclosed agencies, Southwest Airlines has awarded its Hispanic advertising account to Dieste & Partners.
The Dallas shop has been charged with developing a comprehensive television, outdoor and radio campaign that makes Southwest's "Symbol of freedom" positioning relevant to Hispanics, according to Dieste managing partner Warren Harmel.
Harmel said the account will include creative and media responsibilities, as well as public relations work. Contractual details were being finalized at press time.
Southwest's Hispanic account was resigned by Siboney USA in Dallas last October and was subsequently moved in-house.
Client officials could not be reached for comment at press time.
Dieste & Partners' budget is still being negotiated. Southwest spent $97 million on general market advertising in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Spending in 1997 reached $81 million through October. The airline's longtime general market agency is GSD&M in Austin, Texas.
The Hispanic review was conducted in two stages: a capabilities round, followed by the presentation of creative concepts.
Harmel said Southwest concluded that Spanish-speaking consumers represent a major growth opportunity, given the strength of the airline's operations in top Hispanic population centers like Texas and California.
Discussing the agency's proposed campaign theme, Harmel said: "It's not about $49 air fares. It's about what Southwest allows people to do."
The client's decision to hire a Hispanic agency comes on the heels of a strong financial year. Southwest Airlines' net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 1997 was $317.8 million, compared to 1996's net income of $207.3 million, an increase of 53.3 percent.