This week at the @d:tech trade show in San Francisco, L90, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Internet advertising agency and platform, will launch its L90Latino division to better target the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets.
In doing so, L90 joins the growing rank of companies, such as New York-based DoubleClick and Adsmart Network, Andover, Mass., that are looking to tap into the burgeoning Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking market on the Web.
"We think the market is exploding," said Lee Vann, vice president of L90Latino.
More than 47 percent of domestic Hispanic households are already online, compared to 43 percent of white households, according to Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass.
While L90 officials wouldn't disclose projected revenues or clients for the new group, they are looking to leverage their existing 200 sponsorships in the Latino marketplace.
As an example of a sponsorship campaign created by L90, M&M's candy wanted to reach a movie-going audience without running a bunch of banner ads on movie sites.
As a result, L90 created the "M&M Eye Candy Theatre" on Hollywood.com.
"That was a place where users could go to check out movie trailers, and it was branded by M&M's," said Vann. "We're looking to do things like that within the Latino market."
In addition, company officials plan to incorporate their recent alliance with Los Angeles-based RadicalMail, an e-mail marketing firm, to transmit newsletters with streaming video and audio to the Hispanic market.
Vann said it is that kind of creativity and understanding of clients' needs that separates L90 from the pack.
"A lot of competitors have gone out and signed as many [Hispanic] sites as possible," said Vann. "What happens is that you get excess supply of ad inventory and that much more expectation from site partners to sell their inventory."
While estimates suggest more than 8 million online users in Latin America by 2002, and monthly ISP charges as low as $10 in some countries, not all is cheery and bright regarding the Internet.
In fact, the region is characterized by contradictions, according to a report by Jupiter Communications, New York.
Only 12 percent of the Latin American population will be online by 2005, and PC penetration averages just 4 percent, according to Jupiter. By comparison, online growth in North America and Western Europe is expected to rise 54 percent and 29 percent, respectively by 2003.
Argentina is expected to lead the region with 18 percent online use by 2005, followed by Brazil and Chile. n