“El Premio de la Gente” Latin Music Fan Awards 2004, a national contest that lets fans choose their favorite music stars in 14 different categories, used direct mail for the first time in its 6 year history. Based on figures released by Greenhouse Marketing Group, the contest's Los Angeles marketer, and Portada®'s analysis, the response rate for the campaign was a high 1.25%. Response rates varied greatly from market to market – ranging from 1.81% in Chicago, IL, to 0.5% in Texas.

Ballots were delivered to 4.9 million Hispanic households last August through co-op mailings. ADVO Shopwise dropped 2.4 million direct mail ballots along with special Target Store promotions. Carmen's Cupones dropped 2.5 million ballots together with “El Premio de la Gente” sweepstakes.

The mailings got a response rate of 1.25% or 61,500 votes. This response rate is relatively high considering that business mail reply envelopes were not provided. Voters had to select their favorite musicians in 14 categories, and then mail the ballot to a given address (Voters were also given the option to vote on-line). The opt-in-rate for customers who asked to receive product information from “El Premio” sponsors was 8.6% (5,300). Chevrolet, Target, Bank of America, Tecate, and Virgin Megastores sponsored the contest.

“El Premio” response rates (see table below) provide useful information about how Hispanics from different U.S markets respond to direct mail offers. Chicago (1.81%) and Florida (1.37%) had very high response rates, while Texas had a relatively low 0.5%. These figures support the theory that Hispanics in the Mid-Western and Eastern United States are more responsive to direct mail (see “Are Hispanics coupon clippers?” page 22, Portada® No. 11, Sept/Oct 2004). California's high response rate could be related to the heavy promotion, through media placements and events, in that part of the U.S.

“It has been proven over and over again that a multimedia campaign where all the media support each other gets much higher response rates,” says Matthew Drinkwater, an ADVO national account executive who does a lot of work in the Hispanic market. The response rates can be viewed only as indicators since there was some overlap in delivery, meaning certain households received ballots from both ADVO and Carmen's Cupones mailings.

More than a third of the 4.9 million ballots were dropped in California. Texas, Florida, New York and Chicago also received large numbers of ballots. Robert Nieto, president of Greenhouse Marketing Group, says he plans to increase ballot distribution in Florida for the “El Premio de la Gente” 2005 campaign. In that market, “El Premio” enjoys the support of the popular Telemundo TV network.

ADVO distributed “El Premio” ballots through saturation mailings in high-density Hispanic markets (70% or greater Hispanic density) inside Shopwise's standard shared mailing packages. In some markets a banner box promoting the voting campaign was printed on the Shopwise wrap. The banner box enticed consumers to look inside the wrap. It also made a reference to the website www.votaelpremio.com to promote online voting.

Carmen's Cupones mailed personally addressed (name specific) envelopes to Latinas aged 25-40. “The ‘El Premio' contest was also promoted on the front of Carmen's envelopes,” says Shayne Walters, president of Walters Media Group.

Although rates varied considerably, “El Premio de la Gente” paid direct mailers an average of US $147.9 (CPMs). The 667,000 ballots dropped by ADVO and Carmen's Cupones in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (FL) markets cost US $157.1 (CPMs). The 336,000 ballots delivered by both companies in Houston, TX cost only US $105.3 (CPMs). Greenhouse Marketing is currently negotiating with direct mail companies for the 2005 mailing.

Many Latino music fans opted to vote on-line. Of the 74,160 votes cast at www.votaelpremio.com, 10,976 voters wanted to receive additional information from “El Premio” sponsors (online opt-in rate of 14.1%). Voters' preference for on-line voting was probably due to the fact that the “vota el premio” website was advertised on the direct mail ballots, as well as in TV, print and online ads (through media partner Yahoo en español and email blasts). Additionally, more than 70 partner websites invited visitors to participate in the contest.

Multimedia campaign targets Spanish-dominant Hispanics

The campaign to promote consumer participation in “El Premio de la Gente” 2004 Latin Music Fan Awards was clearly aimed at Spanish-dominant, mostly Mexican and South American audiences. “‘El Premio de la Gente' is the Latin Grammys' Spanish language equivalent. The Latin Grammys target English-dominant Hispanics. We target the Spanish-dominant [Hispanics]. This is the segment of the population where marketers see the most opportunities,” says Greenhouse's Robert Nieto. “El Premio de la Gente” competes with Univision's “El Premio Lo Nuestro,” another award program celebrating its 17th anniversary this year.

Chevrolet was the main sponsor of “El Premio de la Gente's” campaign to promote voter participation. The campaign had a strong print media component. Expenditures in the direct mail campaign (US $725,550) were almost as high as TV advertising (US $733,575). “El Premio” spent US $650,000 on Product Integration, and US $450,000 on a Road Tour showcasing the contest. Radio (US $481,150), PR (US $250,000) and print (US $194,301) completed the ad campaign. “El Premio de la Gente's” Red Carpet show was promoted in 1,200 retail stores (Food 4 Less, Food City, HEB, Independent retailers [Tecate], and Virgin Megastores).

Different responses


Mailing Size

Responses (ballots cast)

Response rate













Chicago, IL




New York




Other (Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey)








Source: Portada® calculations using figures provided by Greenhouse Marketing Group.


Portada Staff

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