AARP Set to Wrap Latino Review

The AARP is nearing the end of a review for an agency to handle its first Hispanic outreach campaign.

Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, the Washington, D.C.-based AARP (now legally known by its acronym) is the nation’s leading organization for people over age 50. There are more than 30 million members, both working and retired.

The AARP is said to have budgeted $2 million for a first-phase Hispanic-targeted test campaign, leading to estimates of $10-15 million for a national rollout. The media spend is relatively significant, sources said, in terms of the Hispanic market.

A final decision is expected this week. Finalists include Cartel Creativo and HeadQuarters Advertising, both located in San Antonio, and La Agencia de Orci & Asociados of Los Angeles.

The review is being managed internally by John Killpack, AARP’s vice president of marketing communications, with the help of consultant Carlos Santiago, most recently director of diversity marketing at Nynex (now part of Verizon). Santiago referred calls to the client. A spokesperson for the AARP could not be reached for comment.

In an unusual arrangement, sources said the AARP asked agencies participating in the review to sign a contract whereby any creative concepts presented in the course of the pitch could be used by the client without compensation to the shop(s).

At least one agency was said to have dropped out of the running after the 11th-hour stipulation was presented. A source said the remaining agencies felt they had already invested too much in the review or wanted the business too badly to object. HeadQuarters, in particular, is looking to replace the business lost by its San Antonio office when SBC Communications shifted both its wireless and Hispanic accounts elsewhere.

The association uses several different agencies for its current public relations and advertising efforts.

The AARP already conducts some bilingual programs, including a radio broadcast in Spanish. In addition to its education and advocacy activities, the organization offers its members a variety of benefit services such as group health insurance and travelers’ discounts. The association also publishesModern Maturity and My Generation magazines.