This spring, Daisy Expósito-Ulla watched as the Covid-19 pandemic spurred public health PSAs and concerned commercials offering brand reassurance. But she noticed something was missing: anything about Covid-19 in Spanish.
“On the Hispanic side, we’re not getting as much,” said Expósito-Ulla, founder and CEO of the multicultural agency d expósito & Partners.
Latinos have been highly impacted by the virus. According to the latest data from the Covid Racial Data Tracker, Latinos appear to have disproportionately higher Covid-19 rates than expected across 42 states and Washington D.C. In some states, that number is as much as four times greater.
“The Latino community and communities of color, in general, have become essential workers,” Expósito-Ulla said, noting that Hispanic people overrepresent in farm work, the service industry and other low-paid jobs that are less likely to offer the opportunity to safely work from home.
In order to make sure the most vulnerable Latino communities are getting public health messaging, d expósito & Partners created a Spanish-language PSA that’s now running on Univision, Telemundo and CNN en Español through its “Lucha vs. El Virus” campaign. An accented English version of the video just got picked up by NBC and CNN.
The videos feature luchadores, masked superhero-like wrestlers that perform in Mexico’s professional wrestling (lucha libre). In lucha libre, matches are sometimes wagered over the masks of the fighters, and if a wrestler is unmasked, it usually signals their retirement from the sport.
“We played with the double meaning of the Spanish word lucha,” said Paco Olavarrieta, CCO at d expósito & Partners. “On one hand, lucha means to fight or to struggle and is used figuratively to express that one is working hard or continuing in the fight. On the other hand, lucha is embedded in the name lucha libre, where luchadores wear masks to hide their true identity.”
“We saw an opportunity to leverage this cultural insight to remind Hispanics to stay in the fight—que siguen la lucha,” he continued, “and as in Mexican wrestling, the one who loses the mask loses the fight.”
The campaign also features a fun AR filter available on Instagram and Facebook that lets anyone become a luchador for a day.
In a short video posted to the agency’s Instagram Thursday, an employee explained that masks should be worn “whether it’s to go to the supermarket, go for a walk, go to work or go protest.”
In early April, d expósito & Partners worked with the Ad Council to help translate its “#AloneTogether” PSA (“Quedate en Casa” in Spanish), which was then shared on social media to extend the CDC’s recommendations to Spanish-speaking Americans.
“Communities across the country are opening up,” reads a blog post on the d expósito & Partners website. “But with … warmer weather and sunshine-filled days ahead and the lockdown fatigue we all feel, it’s imperative we don’t let our collective guard down and continue to follow safe practices. This especially means we need to keep wearing our masks and maintaining social distance.”