September 25, 2004

As Election Day nears and many critics and political pundits continue to point to the Latino electorate as a possible deciding factor in this year’s race for the White House, a new PSA campaign from the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project’s Fuerza Latina youth initiative (SVREP) is striking emotional chords with young Hispanics, and may ultimately motivate millions of previously “disconnected” Latinos to vote in record numbers on November 2nd.

“Finally, the Latino electorate is getting the attention it deserves in a culturally- and linguistically-appropriate fashion,” says Producer/Director Luis Aira. “By developing a campaign that addresses both Spanish-dominant and English-speaking Latinos, we’re tapping record numbers of Latinos who are tuning into this election and promise to play a pivotal role in its outcome. It’s very rewarding for us to have contributed through the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and helped educate millions of Latinos on the importance of realizing their collective influence this election season.”

SVREP’s groundbreaking “Don’t Be Invisible” PSA campaign was spearheaded by political activist and acclaimed producer/director Luis Aira, of Ofrenda, Inc., a nationally recognized multi-cultural marketing and broadcast production agency, and Mark González, a principal at 28 de Enero, an advertising agency. Currently airing on Univision, Telemundo, MTV Latino, Mun2, Entravision and SiTV owned and affiliate television and radio stations across battleground states, the bilingual PSA campaign features Alma and Imagen Award-winning actor Esai Morales as fictional (Latino) presidential candidate Victor López. The cornerstone of SVREP’s youth initiative, the “Victor López for a New America” campaign was developed to motivate, as well as educate, the Latino electorate on their collective power and potential to significantly influence the outcome of this year’s Presidential election. At face value, the television and radio spots are a call to action for Latinos to pursue the “Amer! ican Dream and the promise to get it back.” At a much deeper level, the spots reach out to Latinos in a compelling and emotional fashion, something which neither Party has been able to do in a meaningful way, and close with the sobering fact: “Victor López does not exist. He never will unless you vote. Don’t Be Invisible!”

In addition to SVREP’s campaign, Aira also contributed his advertising and marketing expertise to Senator John Kerry’s Hispanic media campaign, as well as efforts by the New Democrat Network. The spots he created for Kerry’s campaign, “Hospital” and “Bumper Sticker,” focus on core Latino issues of health care and education, two of the most important election issues for Latinos as identified by a September 30, 2004 poll from the Willie C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan, non-profit, Latino-oriented research and policy think tank. The spots break away from traditional political ads by featuring Hispanic families in real-life situations and address essential values and issues of relevance to the Latino community. For the New Democrat Network, Aira directed two political commercials in March 2004: “Scrapbook” and “Buenos Consejos.” These positive ads, designed to further personalize the relationship between Latino families and the Democrats, aired during the primaries in F!
lorida and Nevada.

As the creative force behind SVREP’s national media campaigns over the past decade, Aira and González also co-wrote and created the “Rock the Vote” Hispanic media spots “Body Count” and “Hope” featured on MTV in 2000; both were directed and produced by Aira. As a creative team they developed the 1996 “Come Together and Vote” campaign featuring Edgar James Olmos, Hector Elizondo and Culture Clash. Aira’s credits also include directing “Faces of America” for the Gore Presidential Hispanic media campaign in 2000.

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