AT&T Dials Hispanics for the Holidays

NEW YORK AT&T has launched a series of Spanish TV ads aimed at Latinos who will be reaching out to loved ones via an international call or by giving a wireless phone as a gift.

The telecom company said the ads were designed to showcase the various products and services that help keep Hispanic consumers connected with their families and friends throughout the year—and especially during the holiday season.

“We want to have a leadership position with this audience,” said Roberto Garcia, executive director of Hispanic marketing, AT&T Mobility.

TV spots have started rolling out nationally and in targeted regional and local Hispanic markets on Univision, Telemundo and some local cable and TV outlets. The ads will run through the end of the year.

Three spots feature well-known Latinos in lighthearted and musical sketches touting products and services, including the AT&T World Connect Mexico calling plan, the new Samsung a737 wireless phone and its rollover-minutes program.

Two other ads promote the rollover-minutes program and AT&T’s GoPhone, the pay-as-you-go service that gives consumers the option of purchasing a reload card with a preloaded dollar amount that’s deducted from an account based on usage; or a prepaid plan similar to post-paid calling services that are automatically billed every month.

Garcia said the GoPhone promotion would highlight the product’s newest feature: roaming capability in Mexico at 99 cents per minute.

“Now you can cross the border and use the phone while you’re in Mexico,” said Garcia. “For people who live and work in border towns, and who go back and forth between the United States and Mexico every day, this is a great option.”

The GoPhone campaign will roll out on Nov. 15 in U.S. border cities, including San Diego; Tucson, Ariz.; and San Antonio, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

AT&T’s year-end ad push in the Hispanic market is part of a yearlong effort that is key to the company’s retail strategy, Garcia said. “We really hit it hard this time of year because it’s our heavy season. Traffic in our company stores increases dramatically.”

Garcia wouldn’t disclose the amount AT&T Mobility has invested in the wide-ranging TV campaign. He noted, however, that as a big media buyer, AT&T’s ad spend was in line with what was committed to the networks during the television upfronts.

AT&T’s ad spending in Hispanic TV has reached $36 million through August of this year and totaled $60 million for all of 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The lineup for the celebrity ads includes:

— Grammy-winning recording artist Gloria Estefan in a musical spot that borrows lyrics from her current album’s second hit single Me Odio (I Hate Myself) to tout the benefits of AT&T Rollover Minutes; The ads are aimed at local Hispanic markets. It’s the second spot for Estefan, who was featured in a campaign during Hispanic Heritage Month.

— Univision entertainment reporters Raul de Molina and Lili Estefan of the program El Gordo y la Flaca (The Fat Man and the Thin Girl) in a comedic national ad spotlighting the new Samsung a737 wireless phone with TV, XM Radio and a new AT&T Video Share feature that allows users to transmit video with the built-in camera and stream it live to friends.

— Mexican actress Angelica Vale, best known for her starring role in the telenovela La Fea Mas Bella (The Prettiest Ugly Girl), talking up the advantages of AT&T World Connect Mexico calling plan as a convenient and inexpensive way, at 5 cents a minute plus a $3.99 recurring monthly fee, to connect with friends and family.

The Bravo Group produced the three celebrity ads with the creative for the Vale ad and the ad for Univision’s Estefan and de Molina directed by Fernando Arrioja from Emigre Films/Cortez Brothers. Creative for the third ad featuring singer Estefan was filmed and edited by Estefan Enterprises.