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The Mark(eting) of Zorro

By Jul 01, 1998

We must confess that Zorro was our first career choice. We could never understand why our parents were upset when we ran down the corridor to carve Zs into anyone who happened to be visiting that day.

However, we’re not as excited about the new Zorro movie being released this month as Sony, Latin-Pak, Tristar Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and The Imagination Factory are. They plan to market Zorro merchandise to the Hispanic community.

Latin-Pak targets Latinos with a door-hanger program that will be used to distribute a Zorro merchandise catalog to some 3 million Hispanic homes across the United States at about the same time the movie “The Mark of Zorro” opens July 17.

But why target a movie to Hispanics about a character that was created and written by Anglo writers and largely portrayed by Anglo performers? Even in the new film, Zorro-Don Diego de la Vega-is played by Anthony Hopkins. (Antonio Banderas plays Alejandro Murieta.)

According to Vincent Andaloro, managing partner of Malibu, CA-based Latin-Pak, “Zorro’s actually a Hispanic character.” He points out that Latinos remember loving the character as children. One can only speculate on the degree of loyalty Hispanic Americans might have to a character who was perhaps the only positive Latino role model for years in the mass media.

The catalog will offer the usual assortment of toys and t-shirts, pins and posters, among other such memorabilia. Many of the offerings will feature the mark of Zorro, a red Z on a black background. Recipients can order from a toll-free number or a Web site (www.zorro.com).