Siboney Touts Airline to Latino Flyers

NEW YORK US Airways’ first full-fledged foray into Hispanic advertising today begins with its “Yo invito” (“My treat”) campaign to promote the launch of low-fare flights between its new Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hub and U.S. and Latin American cities.

The Arlington, Va.-based airline last month named SiboneyUSA, which is 49 percent owned by Interpublic Group, as its Hispanic agency of record. The shop will conduct the campaign in the U.S. and in Latin America.

US Airways print ads break today in major Spanish-language dailies in South Florida, New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, with radio and Internet messages to begin next week. An outdoor effort will appear later this year, said Carla Trum Mercado, executive vice president and general manager of SiboneyUSA. In Latin America, advertising will be limited to print and outdoor. The entire campaign is set to run through the first and second quarter.

The carrier selected New York- and Miami-based Siboney, which had billings of $50 million in 2004, following a two-month review process that included four agencies. Siboney also serves as the Hispanic agency for Kellogg’s, Colgate-Palmolive and the Milk Processor Education Program’s “Got milk?” campaign.

“[US Airways] was really looking for a good chemistry fit and for an agency that could get the work to market really quickly,” Mercado says.

The airline’s total 2003 ad expenditures were $16 million, of which $54,700 was spent on Hispanic print and TV. Through the third quarter of 2004 that figure was $13 million, of which $23,900 was spent on Hispanic ads, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Prior to US Airways’ Siboney relationship, Eisner Communications, the carrier’s general-market shop in Baltimore, handled Hispanic advertising.

US Airways managing director of marketing Barry Biffle has said the airline, which posted losses of $174 million in 2003 and $1.6 billion in 2002, is betting on increased brand recognition among Hispanics and all travelers to boost business.