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Volume 22 No. 19
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Comcast connects with Hispanics

School never ends at Comcast since the media and digital company unveiled its La Academia de Comcast caravan last year.


Brand: Comcast

Agency: GMR Marketing

The goal: Promote the company’s Xfinity HD, Internet and phone service, as well as Latino-focused channel lineups.

Why it worked: “A lot of brands will have a presence at those big, 100,000-people events, but not a lot have a separate experience they’re bringing to a Best Buy parking lot. We’re taking it into the Hispanic community.” — Steve Dupee, vice president of GMR Marketing

A 42-foot trailer loaded with kiosks, video games and interactive skills tests (think soccer kicks, football tosses and the like) made its way to 24 cities for the inaugural tour, touting the benefits of Latino-focused channel packages and the company’s Xfinity lineup of HD, Internet and phone services.

La Academia was chosen as the name and theme because the tour aimed to educate prospective customers about everything Comcast is selling, while also reinforcing the skills displays as informal sports tutorials. The company says it’s hard to make direct links with the tour spurring sales, but anecdotal evidence and overall growth in 2010 led to an expanded format this year.

The motivation is obvious, said Roberto Perez, Comcast’s director of Hispanic marketing. There are more than 50 million U.S. Hispanics and there are more multigenerational families than ever before. “So there are different levels of acculturation, and different levels of language,” Perez said.

That demographic shift inspired the introduction of various Hispanic channel lineups to suit the different audiences and preferences. The next logical step was spreading the word, Perez said.

Thus the arrival of La Academia. Last year, the Comcast tour hit festivals big and small while also visiting neighborhood grocery stores and retailers. Attendance for La Academia totaled 52,000. Comcast hired several prominent Hispanic athletes to endorse the program, including members of the Mexican national soccer team, NFL player Tony Gonzalez and baseball’s Hanley Ramirez.

This year, the tour has returned, and three sport utility vehicles with pullout trailers have been added to increase the scope of the Comcast tour while reducing set-up time. La Academia has been to 52 events year to date, with a target of 200 appearances by the end of 2011.

— Erik Spanberg, correspondent