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Ex-HUD Boss Touts His American City Vista Homes

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Former Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Henry Cisneros is appearing in television ads for his own brand of affordable homes.

The spots, which broke in San Antonio earlier this month, are via local agency Garcia/LKS. Cisneros hired the Latino marketing firm to create a name and brand identity for his new company, American City Vista. ACV is a joint venture between a Cisneros-led investment group and KB Homes of Los Angeles, one of the largest residential builders in the U.S.

Two spots, both prominently featuring Cisneros, began airing this month to support ACV's first development in southern San Antonio, named Lago Vista. The campaign will extend to Colorado and California as home construction begins in those states.

The agency plan ned from the beginning to feature the well-known Hispanic politician in the com mercials.

"Since he was the chairman [of ACV] and because he has such presence in this community, it just makes sense," said agency chief executive officer Luis Garcia.

ACV has also arranged a partnership with Target, Gateway Computers and SBC Communications to provide high-speed Internet access in each home. Computers will be installed as standard appliances.

"Only [Cisneros] could really pull off that level of partnership in such a short period of time," said Garcia. "Instead of being just a home development it started being about the revival of a part of town that had been traditionally ignored."

Through its affiliation with Cisneros, Garcia/LKS has also taken on a major renaming and branding assignment for publically held KB Homes, formerly Kaufman & Broad.

Although an in-house agency handles the builder's massive signage and Sunday print ads, the firm recently hired Garcia/LKS to develop a new strategy and creative, which the company's internal department will implement.