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Latin Rhythms for Swedish Vodka

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ATLANTA Absolut Vodka entered the race for Hispanic market share last week with an advertising and promotion campaign themed "Absolut Ritmos."

The national campaign launched in Miami, because, said Emily Bosco, special events manager for the Swedish client, the Florida city is the Latin music and entertainment capital of the world.

"Miami is the cultural nexus with the highest convergence of Hispanic cultures," Bosco said. "The [Hispanic] market is growing 12 times as fast as any other. Research has shown that this consumer is very brand loyal to quality products." Twenty percent of the Hispanic population drinks vodka, she said.

Carlos Davila, creative director at JMD Communications in San Juan, Puerto Rico, developed the theme and logo for the campaign. While remaining within the guidelines of the client's national advertising, the work borrows from the highly diverse Hispanic culture, which includes people from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central and South America.

"The first challenge was to find something that crossed all culture boundaries and spoke to Hispanics in general," said Davila. "Music was the way to do it." Ritmos translates to rhythms.

"In Venezuela, salsa, which comes from Cuba, is very popular," said Davila. "The trading of music within the communities is very well accepted."

Some elements, according to Bosco, can be customized within different communities. "Music as a platform crosses over very easily."

Spending for the effort was not disclosed. Bosco called the investment substantial. Work, developed by Absolut's Hispanic agency, JMD, consists of print and radio ads in Spanish and English, in-bar promotions and merchandise that Bosco said goes well beyond T-shirts.

Public relations and special events are being handled by Ccom Group of Miami. Parties, tastings and "Akademi" instructional gatherings court bartenders and club owners with classes and workshops featuring new Absolut flavors and cocktails.

The campaign rolls out in Latin clubs in New York this April.