Sales Leads: Smart Play, Carrolls Restaurants, Ikea, Easter Seals (CA)

  • Smart Play

Smart Play, which sells educational toys, is using outreach to traditional media and bloggers to introduce a new bilingual product line. Ingenio launched in October and the company is targeting Hispanic parents in the first phase of the campaign.

"We're going to focus in on a niche with Hispanic parents and then move into [targeting] all parents," said Ilango Sankaralingam, the president of Smart Play, noting that there is also "definitely a big market" for parents looking to introduce their children to multiple languages early on.

Working with an internal team, Smart Play is targeting Hispanic media outlets, as well as both Hispanic and mommy bloggers, to build awareness of Ingenio, as well as Smart Play overall, which was founded in 2008. The PR budget for the campaign is around $5,000, Sankaralingam said, and the company will also use smaller-scale advertising to introduce the products. Online, Smart Play is just starting to introduce Twitter, Facebook, and other social media into its outreach.


  • Ikea

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea, nearing completion of a media agency review, is now examining its creative roster of U.S. agencies in what it calls a move towards "integration of general market and Hispanic creative."

The marketer has hired Boston-based Pile & Co., which has managed agency reviews for the retailer before, to assist with its "integrated communications" search.

Omnicom Group's Ketchum handles PR; WPP shops Mediaedge:cia and Mediacom have handled media duties, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch has U.S. creative. Mediaedge:cia has handled planning and buying for the furniture maker in the U.S. and certain global markets, while sibling Mediacom handles the business in other regions. Anita Santiago is Ikea’s Hispanic Advertising Agency of Record.


  • Carrolls Restaurant Group

Carrolls Restaurant Group, a restaurant operator that heavily targets the Hispanic market, reported that for the third quarter of 2009, revenues for Hispanic brand restaurants (Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana) fell marginally and totaled $107.0 million compared to $107.5 million in previous period. Alan Vituli, Chief Executive at Carrolls noted during the earnings conference call that Carrols spent advertising dollars this year to a higher level on television than it did in 2008. “Revenues from our Hispanic brands were down about $500,000 in total as the effect of new units opened over the past year helped to offset softness in our comparable restaurant sales, particularly at Taco Cabana. We did though; see continued improvement in our Pollo Tropical which is encouraging”Vituli added.

Regarding the advertising message, Vituli noted that: “As we focus on improving top line trends at our Hispanic brands, our emphasis remains on the overall value equation for the consumer, more than relying on the discounting tactics that are increasing present in the industry. Although we are certainly more focused on our value message, our TV and radio advertising generally emphasize the quality and the combination of our fresh food and distinct flavor profiles along with the overall value experience that we deliver at extremely attractive price points. We believe that this balance in combination with new products and improving consumer experience will continue to improve our long term brand positioning.”

“Regarding Burger Kink, looking forward, the brand is moving further toward the value end of the bar bell with a key advertising and promotional activity now focused on the $1.00 Quarter Pound Double Cheeseburger which just started a couple of weeks ago.”

Northeast U.S.

“We’ve opened for the most part six restaurants. Four of those are clearly leading expectations. Two that have been a little disappointing strangely are in communities that are predominantly Hispanic and what we’re learning and now essentially focusing on more is the fact that in the Northeast as opposed to the south, the Hispanic communities tend to be denser.

They tend to be much more sensitive with respect to disposable income. They start as being slightly poorer than the communities that we have here in the state of Florida. So going forward with respect to Pollo, we believe we have huge opportunities in the non Hispanic communities even though our Hispanic frequency is high.”


  • Easter Seals (CA)

As part of an ongoing effort to better serve and engage Spanish-speaking families living with disabilities in Southern California and nationwide, Easter Seals has launched a new Spanish-language website at The new site expands Easter Seals’ online presence by providing valuable information to assist Spanish-speaking individuals and families, as well as volunteers, donors and advocates, who are seeking help, hope and answers for a range of disabilities from autism to Alzheimer’s.

Easter Seals Southern California nonprofit provides services that help children and adults with disabilities and special needs gain greater independence. We serve 3,500 people at 50 sites and offices throughout Southern California. To learn more, please visit

  • Mexican Tourism Board

Quepasa Corporation announced that it will be collaborating with Mexico's Tourism Board — officially known as the Consejo de Promocion Turistica de Mexico, SA de CA — with regards to an online initiative aimed at promoting tourism to Mexico.

As part of this program, Quepasa will promote Mexico's beautiful tourist destinations via online communities, which will index content related to specific destination and facilitate user interaction via blogs and viral tools. At the same time, Quepasa and Mexico's Tourism Board will be approaching online travel agencies, hotels and airlines with regards to sponsoring a broader viral campaign using the Quepasa Distributed Social Media platform.


  • MoneyGram

Global payment company MoneyGram International has launched its MoneyGram Rewards program in Canada. The program currently runs in the US, Germany, Spain and France. Users can sign up for the program by phone, Web or at an agent location. Users receive a loyalty card that tracks the number of money transfers the user completes and receive a 5% discount on the money transfer fee for the third through fifth transfers and a 10% discount on the sixth transfer and any thereafter. 

Brent Carter, director of loyalty and database marketing for Moneygram, said the company has three goals for the program: savings, speed and service. As part of its “receive notice” service, once a money transfer is picked up by the recipient, the sender can opt in to receive and e-mail or text message from MoneyGram. Carter said the company uses traditional media outlets like TV, print, radio and events to market the program. They also post information, posters and brochures at the point of sale in agent locations.


Click here, for detailed contact information on Hispanic Corporate Marketers at these companies and the decision makers at their Advertising Agencies. In addition to information on more than 2,000 Leading Agency and Marketing/Advertising Directors who are targeting Hispanics. (Downloadable into an Excel Spreadsheet for seamless integration into your own database!).