As part of a broader statewide initiative to access hitherto untapped markets, Florida's Walt Disney Co. is ramping-up its Hispanic marketing efforts. The move is seen as a response to lagging tourism figures that indicate new initiatives are needed to bolster visitor traffic.

There has even been talk among Disney executives of having Cinderella and Snow White learn and speak Spanish to bridge the communication barrier that might exist between the Orlando theme-park characters and the Spanish-speaking children that visit the park every year.

Disney has also enlisted the services of Miami's La Comunidad ad agency, whose other clients include Best Buy and Red Bull.

La Comunidad has already produced a Spanish-language television commercial for Disney, and is considering an expansion into print and online media.

The decision to target Hispanics is a logical one, given that travel among U.S. Hispanics is growing at a rate of 20% compared with 2% for the general market, according to a 2003 TIA report. That figure could be even higher at present.

In the past three years alone, the state-sponsored “Visit Florida” initiative has increased spending on Black and Hispanic markets from $750,000 to $1.4 million.

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