Recruiting Smart Celebrity Spokespeople

The PR team for the Smart Spot Dance program couldn’t just pick any random public figures in the hopes that they would make the requisite splash; they had to pick the right ones. These turned out to be TV star Mario Lopez, famed choreographer Maria Torres and Tony Award-winning performer LaChanze, according to PepsiCo’s communications VP, Lynn Markley.

“We wanted real people to resonate with the community,” she explains. “We felt we did that with Mario Lopez, who was and continues to be a hot personality in the Latino and mainstream communities, and then Maria Torres, who really carried the program. She was a real woman. She was voluptuous and not a typical skinny dance instructor. Maria resonated with the urban communities and moms—and LaChanze is a mom. The talent has to be reflective of the target audience: They have to be genuine and believe in the message. The three of them did. They walked the talk.”

Contacts: Mike Rosen,, Lynn Markley,

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