Target Corp., which has been seeking a way to pursue Hispanic customers through a combination of English and Spanish advertising, said Friday it has named LatinWorks of Austin, Texas, to handle the job.

LatinWorks was named "multicultural agency of the year" for 2011 by trade publication Advertising Age, while rival publication Adweek named LatinWorks "Hispanic agency of the year" for the same period. LatinWorks already had gained national attention in the ad community for such spots as a Super Bowl commercial featuring an Hispanic comedian in 2007.

Advertising Age said that Target's choice of LatinWorks comes at a time when there are more than 50 million Latino consumers in the United States. In addition, the magazine said that Target ranked 29 among the 50 largest advertisers in Hispanic media in 2011, spending $45.6 million.

Target officials on Friday confirmed the choice of LatinWorks but declined to provide any details. Target has worked with California-based Grupo Gallegos, also an Hispanic ad agency,

In an interview with Advertising Age in September, Shawn Gensch, Target's senior vice president of marketing, said his firm wants to create Hispanic-oriented ads in both English and Spanish that deliver the same marketing message against different cultural backdrops, such as a family dinner in which the actors eat different foods depending on which language is being used. At the same time, he said Target wants to incorporate special advertising features in its stores that serve large Hispanic populations, such as store navigation aids in Spanish.

Officials of LatinWorks couldn't be reached Friday. But in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman newspaper earlier this year, LatinWorks President Sergio Alcocer spelled out an advertising philosophy that appears to be in tune with Target's.

"For years, Hispanic marketing was all about talking in Spanish to Spanish speakers," Alcocer said in the interview. "Today we also need to talk to the Hispanic-American, those Latinos born in the U.S. that are the face of the new generation. They are young, bicultural, and they can live perfectly well moving back and forth through both worlds."

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553