AARP Offers News for Hispanic Members

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AARP has started a Spanish-language newsletter aimed at the over-50 Hispanic population as part of an initiative to increase its reach to Hispanic-Americans.

Segunda Juventud, or Second Youth, was conceived more than a year ago as a way for AARP to connect with its Hispanic members and attract new members from the Hispanic community, said Nancy Franklin, director of membership development and value management at AARP, Washington. Franklin heads the Hispanic outreach initiative at AARP, which provides resources and services to its members 50 and older.

"Segunda Juventud is one piece of a totally integrated plan that is just at its beginning stages for us," she said.

The first issue of the 16-page newsletter dropped Jan. 4, with 200,000 copies mailed to AARP members in five test markets: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Puerto Rico. Segunda Juventud will be published quarterly. Rick Bowers, Web editor for the publications group at AARP, expects circulation to at least double over the course of the year.

Since the newsletter is in Spanish with English-language summaries for each article, AARP was careful to target members likely to speak Spanish. AARP has more than 35 million members and estimates that about 500,000 are Hispanic.

"We have a database of AARP members, and we looked at key factors such as surname and street address and determined a high likelihood that these people were Hispanic," Bowers said. "We took a conservative approach."

Few recipients have asked to be removed from the Segunda Juventud list, he said, and many additional people have called to request the publication.

"Our anecdotal information says that there is a high percentage of people requesting this," Bowers said. It is too early to release figures, he said.

Initial response from advertisers within the newsletter has been positive. New York Life and Hartford Insurance advertised in the first issue, and AARP plans to reach out to new advertisers.

Bowers put together the first issue of Segunda Juventud. He also does a lot of the startup work for the print publications at AARP.

"My part was really to bring it together and make it happen," he said. "The content was really targeted to connect with the Hispanic audience."

Bowers and the AARP publications staff worked with the staff of Los Angeles-based Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion on the editorial for the paper. AARP is looking for a Spanish-speaking editor to take over.

Though the newsletter was not mailed to prospects, another 40,000 to 50,000 copies will be distributed by AARP at events in Hispanic communities and in its regional offices to attract new members.

AARP began other campaigns aimed at the Hispanic community in the fourth quarter of 2001.

"We launched a branding and direct marketing television campaign and piloted it in Miami and New York on Telemundo and Univision," Franklin said. "Then we followed with a direct mail campaign. It was really a multi-faceted approach."

Response has been good but is still being evaluated, she said.

AARP will expand the ads to the Los Angeles market this year, she said.

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