Multicultural Outreach:Local leaders help Pfizer health push to reach Hispanics

Pfizer saw a need in the Hispanic community for Spanish-language, culturally relevant health information to educate Latinos about under-diagnosed diseases and conditions.

Pfizer saw a need in the Hispanic community for Spanish-language, culturally relevant health information to educate Latinos about under-diagnosed diseases and conditions.

It thought the prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and depression had become exacerbated because of a lack of prevention and Spanish-language education.

Pfizer and Ketchum Multicultural Marketing (KMM) identified Houston and Miami as two cities with large Hispanic populations, predominantly comprising Mexican and Central Americans in Houston, and Caribbean and South Americans in Miami. The team then developed a comprehensive health initiative named Sana La Rana (SLR) to tackle the health problems in those cities and to position Pfizer and SLR as health resources for the Hispanic community.


"We're trying to educate Hispanics and give doctors tools to understand their needs and to treat them," says Missy Lukens, senior marketing strategy manager at Pfizer. "We want to empower this community through education so that they can take better control of their lives."

SLR sought to motivate Hispanics in Miami and Houston to see physicians for diagnosis and treatment of prevalent diseases, such as high cholesterol and heart disease, the number- one killer of Hispanics in the US.

KMM realized that the most effective way of getting a message to resonate within the Hispanic community was to gain the support of key political, medical, and business leaders. "It was essential that we had a proactive relationship with community opinion leaders and doctors," says Aurora Gonzalez, VP of multicultural marketing for KMM. "We also realized that the media outlets are very important in this community because they do a lot of events and educate people far beyond the editorial."

Women also were identified as a crucial target audience, as they serve as health information gatekeepers for their families.


Ketchum launched SLR as a fully integrated health-education effort that used Spanish-language ads of imagery like clogged sinks to communicate the effects of high cholesterol. The ads directed consumers to the program's website, www., and to a toll-free hotline manned by bilingual operators. KMM organized 16 PSAs on Spanish-language TV that often featured physicians and public officials.

Pfizer partnered with the National Council of La Raza to develop a team of community volunteers trained to give brief "charlas," or chats, about the dangers of high cholesterol. Recognizing key differences between the cultural makeups of the Hispanic populations in both cities, the team customized its press materials for each market and conducted outreach to Hispanic broadcast and print media.


Starting with zero awareness, SLR has increased awareness in the two markets by 21%, with consumer intent to see or commit to seeing physicians rising by 8%. Six million media impressions have been generated, with several feature-length segments on the Telemundo and Univision networks. More than 282 "charlas" have been held, reaching more than 4,300 people.

Also, community leaders like Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to the US Congress, and US Surgeon General Richard Carmona have embraced SLR.


Pfizer and KMM launched SLR in LA this year and plan on extending SLR nationally.

"We have to continue to educate people, make them aware of their health, and motivate them to see a doctor, be screened, and then to be treated," says Lukens.

PR team: Ketchum Multicultural Marketing and Pfizer Inc. (both New York)

Campaign: Sana La Rana

Time frame: June 2003 to present

Budget: $177,000 (60% time, 40% OOP)

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