U.S. Navy Taps AOL Latin America

The United States Navy is turning to AOL Latin America for help in reaching out to U.S. Latinos and Hispanics.

Through the advertising agreement with the Navy, Fort Lauderdale, Fl.-based AOL Latin America will launch a recruiting campaign centered chiefly around the AOL Latino area on America Online, which it administers.

Spanish- and English-language ads and Navy-related content will be integrated into the Roots, Community and English Extras areas of AOL Latino. In particular, the site each month will feature a different tribute to historical and modern-day Latino/Hispanic Navy personnel, with biographies and photographs.

The content links to ElNavy.com, the Navy’s eight-month-old Hispanic/Latino-oriented site, which was designed by interactive shop Batiz.com and the Navy’s U.S. agency of record, Warren, Mich.-based Campbell Ewald.

The campaign comes as part of the ongoing effort by several branches of the armed forces to position themselves as more relevant to contemporary youth. Last year, the Navy unveiled its Campbell Ewald-designed “Accelerate Your Future” campaign, while the U.S. Army tapped Leo Burnett for its “Army of One” campaign.

According to the Army, its new campaign — which concentrated in large part on interactive channels — proved a big hit, helping the military branch reach its annual quota weeks ahead of schedule. The effort revolved around a wide online media buy designed to drive traffic to GoArmy.com, which showcased a series of episodic videos following recruits through their training.

Now, AOL Latin America is aiming to deliver the same sorts of results for the Navy.

“We are delighted to be working with the Navy to promote the organization in a way that speaks directly to the U.S. Hispanic community,” said Peter Blacker, vice president of interactive marketing for AOL Latin America. “Our AOL Latino content area serves U.S. Hispanics looking for compelling Spanish-language content and other offerings relevant to their daily lives. This is a perfect venue for the integrated Navy recruitment program.”

In recent months, AOL Latin America also has announced marketing agreements with MasterCard, Wal-Mart, and Spanish-language media giant Univision .

In spite of the such high-profile recent wins, the company — a joint venture of U.S. media conglomerate AOL Time Warner , the Venezuela-based Cisneros Group and Brazil’s Banco Itau SA — is struggling to cover its operating costs. Last month, AOL Latin America received $160 million in debt financing from its U.S. parent, less than a year after having received a total of $150 million from AOL, Cisneros and Itau.

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