Unilever focuses on family in Hispanic outreach effort

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: Unilever took its Hispanic-outreach campaign, "Desaf'o del Sabor" (The Flavor Challenge), in a more family-oriented direction this year.

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: Unilever took its Hispanic-outreach campaign, "Desaf'o del Sabor" (The Flavor Challenge), in a more family-oriented direction this year.

Previously, Desaf'o del Sabor was open only to individuals, but many participants wanted to include their families. Unilever changed the competition to reflect that desire.

"We took an 180-degree turn," said Joseph Vizcarra, integrated marketing manager for Unilever. "We invited families to celebrate cooking and to challenge them to find new ways to do that and maintain their Hispanic culture."

At 15 to 20 events across the US, Unilever, with support from Edelman, will offer customers the chance to sample products, win prizes, and participate in the Flavor Challenge at stores, events, and online. Brands supported by the initiative include Lipton, Ragu, and Hellmann's.

Kickoff events were expected in Southern California both last and this coming weekend. It will continue in other markets, including Houston and Miami, through September.

Earlier this year, Unilever surveyed Hispanic families about their cooking habits. During the new events, families will guess what the responses were to questions like children's favorite foods and preferred spices.

"We're not telling people what to do," Vizcarra explained. "We're asking them how they like to cook."

A third phase this fall includes a promotional contest for families to submit recipes and meal tips to win a trip to the People en Espanol 50 Most Beautiful People Party.

"We'll do media relations to talk about the story [of how Unilever is] taking consumer insights and turning them into a unique program," said Audrey Ponzio, VP of Edelman Multicultural. The agency will also mention Unilever's ViveMejor.com Web site in all of its communications so that it "drives traffic to the site so people can interact with the brand," she added.

Marc Shaw, director of integrated marketing for Unilever North America, said this is just "one of [our]... efforts to... help address this growing consumer [demographic]."

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