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ZenithOptimedia Direct Enters Hispanic Marketing via New Unit

ZenithOptimedia Direct opened a division for multicultural marketing, focusing on the growing Hispanic audience in addition to the Asian- and African-American markets.

Called ZenithOptimedia Multicultural Direct, the DM unit’s selling point is its access to two leading Hispanic databases in the United States. Direct marketing veteran Len Sherman is managing director.

“It’s been clear from our clients’ own marketing plans that the need to reach ethnic markets has become much higher on their priority lists,” said Joe Shain, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Direct, New York.

The unit offers strategic planning, media planning and buying, member services and database development and customer and internal communications. Services also include community relations, grassroots and guerilla marketing, public relations and sports and entertainment marketing.

ZenithOptimedia Multicultural Direct employees are bicultural and bilingual. Numbering five at present, they were schooled and raised in Latin America and completed their higher education in the United States.

“They really understand the culture from both sides, and that really is the key,” Sherman said.

One of the two databases is a consumer file with 16 million Hispanic households nationwide. The other has 750,000 Hispanic-owned and operated businesses and 3.25 million firms with a majority of Hispanic employees.

Contact names of household heads, co-heads and family members, addresses, telephone numbers and double opt-in e-mail addresses are included in both databases, Sherman said. Both are no-call and no-mail suppressed.

Founded in 2001, ZenithOptimedia Direct is part of Publicis Group’s ZenithOptimedia Worldwide. The agency now offers direct marketing services to clients like Hewlett-Packard Co., Abbott Labs, Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca, Aventis, T-Mobile, JP Morgan Chase and Curves International.

The multicultural unit will angle for work from its parent’s client base as well as accounts not within ZenithOptimedia Direct. Shain and Sherman are confident that an unmet need is being served in multicultural marketing.

“As such there has not been a lot of competent marketing vis-à-vis response marketing to the Latino market,” Sherman said. “Obviously there are a lot of good Latino general agencies, but there are not really many who can do more direct mail or television.”

Another factor in the Hispanic direct shop, or any firm operating in the space, is the relative absence of cynicism with marketing overtures.

“The response level for Hispanics is a multiple of the levels of the basic Anglo-American market because it’s not saturated,” Shain said. “In the Hispanic TV area it’s still very fresh. It’s like it was in the Anglo market 10 years ago.”

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