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Home Depot Plays 'Favorite'

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NEW YORK Home Depot has launched its "My Favorite Corner" TV spot on Spanish-language networks as part of the new "True stories" campaign. The English-language version featuring the same household and the same message will debut today nationwide on general-market television.

The new mainstream effort, said Jacob Perez, a senior account planner for The Vidal Partnership, the New York-based lead Hispanic agency for Home Depot, is part of the growing awareness of integrating Hispanic insights with bicultural messaging for more acclimated Latinos.

"When you reach them on Hispanic television, you ignore them on general-market television," Perez said. "With this spot and campaign, you can be present in both those environments."

In this case, it's the story of a husband and father—Mike, in his own words—finding a piece of his native Mexico in his home-improvement purchases at Home Depot with paints and tiles that are reminiscent of his place of birth, he explains in both the Spanish and English commercials. It is a normal familial setting, but for many Latinos, it's "a wink" to the immigrant experience in keeping the spirit from back home alive, Perez said. There's also a nod to Latinos sharing their culture with their U.S.-born children, who may be going through the process of enculturation.

"When you look at the Hispanic market, you have different levels of acculturation, so it becomes an interesting puzzle to find the right story that will resonate with our market," he said.

Pat Wilkinson, senior director of multicultural marketing, consumer relations at Home Depot, finds ample new opportunities for the Latino spots. "By approaching it this way, we've actually been able to tap into the market in a much better way than we have ever before. For many Hispanics, English is their first language today," she said. "It's a whole new way for us to respond to a Hispanic audience."

While culturally relevant to Latinos, she said the spots work independently. "I don't want to characterize it as just targeting English-dominant Hispanics in general media," Wilkinson said. "We are still using it as a general-market spot. The story itself is a compelling story for anybody to watch."

Home Depot has 1,890 stores in the U.S.; 450 are considered to have a large Hispanic consumer base. The No. 1 home-buying retailer has made a strategic change in its overall approach this year: focusing more on consumers' personal success stories rather than singling out the stores and associates. New Web sites in both English and Spanish have been launched to inspire more consumers to share their home-repair accomplishments.

Three shops worked with Home Depot on the new campaign: The Richards Group, the primary agency for general market and the creative behind the overall "True stories" ads; UniWorld Group, behind the African-American-targeted spots; and TVP on Hispanic.

Home Depot spent $540 million on all media last year, with more than $45 million specifically for Hispanic ads, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Vidal handles all media responsibilities for the U.S. Hispanic market. The campaign will be supported in the Hispanic market by radio spots and a newly launched interactive Web site to glean more "true stories."

Susana Roel, account director at Vidal, said more integrated segment sponsorships on Hispanic television are also in place with the rollout.

"Light Up My Garden," the second of four Hispanic spots slated for this year (eight when counting the English-language equivalents), will debut at the end of the month on Spanish-language networks, with its general-market counterpart appearing on mainstream TV in August or September. The staggered Spanish-to-English spot rollout is a way to better optimize the media plan and the client's needs, Roel explained.