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"There are more Hispanics than African-Americans in this country. People in the music business should be marketing to Hispanics in a way that resonates with them.”
—-Fuerte's Rich Isaacson

FUERTE EN FUEGO

Multifaceted Marketing and Management Company Taking Off
Habla Espanol? Habla “targeted marketing”? Label vets Jerry Blair and Rich Isaacson do. Together, the two industry vets have combined their skills to create a multidimensional company called Fuerte Marketing.

Combining Blair’s expertise in the Latin marketplace from breaking Ricky Martin in America with Issacson’s street and consumer marketing savvy, Fuerte is a multicultural music and marketing company with a specific focus on the U.S. Hispanic audience. To that end, Fuerte has a management arm (for both Latin and crossover artists), a marketing division and a record label.

“What I did with Ricky Martin basically woke up the country and marketers to what was really going on in the Latin marketplace, ahead of the census reporting that Latinos were the dominant minority. It woke up people to that fact,” says Blair.

On the Hispanic artist management side, Fuerte represents Rosalyn Sanchez (BMG U.S. Latin); Viva Buena (Razor and Tie), who had the first single from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; ATM (Univision); Cabas (EMI Latin); and Urban crossover artists Nes (S-Curve/EMI) and M (7/IDJ). They also manage Fuse-TV’s Maria Nella, who is a co-host of “IMX.” The newly established Urban management division, headed by Faith Newman, handles artists Erick Sermon (Motown) and Tenecia (Warner Bros.), as well as Urban producers Nes, Sermon, Andreas Levin, Randy Cantor and Swinga.

Fuerte also has a record label. The imprint is distributed by Universal and has already signed Si*Se, previously on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop. Fuerte opened for business less than a year ago, and its corporate marketing and promotion division has already done business with the likes of Coca-Cola, Western Union, Univision, Clear Channel, EMI Latin, Koch and Razor and Tie.

In addition to Blair and Isaacson, Fuerte’s core staff includes Marketing and Business Development VP Deborah Castillero, Promo exec Fernando Fazzarri, Mix Show and Spanish radio head Oscar Pena, Publicist Jennifer Neman, Marketing/Special Events topper Johanna Espinoza, Operations Director Allison Hales and National Marketing/Street Team head David Rodriguez.

 “Twenty years ago, not too many people in the suburbs were watching BET,” says Isaacson. “Now, BET is where you break hip-hop videos of any kind. There are more Hispanics than African-Americans in this country. People in the music business should be marketing to Hispanics in a way that resonates with them.”

And music is a great point of entry to reach this demographic. It helps Fuerte pinpoint their audience for other products. “Asking someone what the last three CDs they bought or downloaded tells you so much more about them than just their musical tastes,” Isaacson says. “It can tell you where they shopped, what kind of clothes they wear, the movies they’re likely to see, what they drink, so we use music as a platform for consumer brands and entertainment properties because music always resonates with people.”

Fuerte also issues the Fuerte Report, a weekly cultural update of the Latin marketplace and popular culture distributed online. The company is developing a TV show with Fat Joe. Better take a refresher course to remember that high school Spanish.

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