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Hispanic Meow Mix Work Debuts From Viva

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ATLANTA Viva Partnership has launched its first Hispanic marketing efforts for Meow Mix cat food, the agency said.

The Miami shop "Latinized" the company's long-running "Meow" jingle by adding Latin musical touches and giving the voiceover a Spanish accent, said agency president Linda Gonzalez. "It's a little shorter and nasalized," she noted.

Viva broke the Spanish-language spots in the Houston market earlier this summer and will air the work in Fresno, Calif., later this summer.

"We're trying to get them into test markets that meet all the qualifications," said Gonzalez.

This means going further than cities with high Hispanic populations like Los Angeles, which Gonzalez said would be a poor test market.

"We need to look at the number of consumers for the product, the age ranges and the incidence of purchase for the category," she said.

Although there might be a high percentage of Hispanic pet owners in Los Angeles, she noted, 32 percent of the pet owners have dogs, and only 16 percent own cats.

"I want to look into more urban areas like Chicago and New York where it's easier to own a cat," Gonzalez said, adding that Hispanics in New York are more likely to own cats than dogs and are more likely to own more cats than people in the general market.

Gonzalez said she sees a trend in Hispanic and general markets of increased cat ownership in New York and Miami; in the latter city, the number of felines owned is 3.25 percent of Hispanics.

Viva won the business earlier this summer, following a review in which it competed against shops that included Bromley Communications in San Antonio and WPP Group's The Bravo Group in Miami, sources said.

Spending is not disclosed. Meow Mix spent $10 million in 2002 in general-market advertising, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Meow Mix was purchased a year ago by Richard Thompson from Ralston Purina.