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Behind the Five Most Creative U.S. Hispanic Ideas

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The top five U.S. Hispanic ideas, chosen this week in awards organized by the Hispanic creatives' group Circulo Creativo, include the first abs-building yogurt for men and an environmentally-friendly tent that doubled as a Glad trash bag at Austin's SXSW festival.

If these ideas don't seem particularly Hispanic -- although a Hispanic agency is behind each one -- it's just another sign of how integrated Hispanics have become in what WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell, speaking at this week's Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) conference, called the "new mainstream."

In an advance look at Hispanic work that might do well next month at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, here are the U.S.H. Ideas awards' top five:

1. A former yogurt marketer, intrigued by the statistic that four of 10 yogurt consumers are men, worked with the independent Vidal Partnership to develop protein-laden Powerful Yogurt, aimed at men, with black packaging and a manly campaign that is the opposite of most female-targeted yogurt marketing.

The tagline, "Find your inner abs," was inspired by the idea that men believe the perfect body with six-pack abs is lurking somewhere inside them, just waiting for them to go to the gym or improve their diets. "It's a stupid man thing," said Vidal's Chief Creative Officer Gus Lauria, noting that he pays for a membership to the Equinox gym but never goes.

Ads show men doing absurd things with their powerful abs, like jump starting a car battery. A small mailing of Powerful Yogurt media kits, mostly aimed at supermarket buyers to gain distribution, was picked up by New York magazine's Grub Street blog in February 2013 and led to mentions by Anderson Cooper and Conan O'Brien, who indignantly claimed on his show that he had thought of a male-targeted yogurt first.

With Vidal holding a small stake in the new enterprise, CEO Manny Vidal went to food show Expo West to man a small booth that drew attention by offering a fake ultrasound machine that showed men pictures of their inner abs. Efforts are paying off, with Powerful Yogurt selling for $2.99 in 300 stores and gyms in New York, and a second round of financing in the works.

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"It's a big idea and the agency helped create, package, strategize and launch the product," said Erh Ray, the founder of Sao Paulo agency BorgiErh/Lowe who served as jury president. "The client really used and needed the agency."

2. In "Adios Cliches, Hola Mexico," Omnicom-owned Alma created the most cliched character imaginable to attack stereotypes non-Hispanics hold about Mexican culture. A pistol-wielding desperado with a big moustache kills off other clich├ęd Mexican figures including a wrestler, a chihuahua and a Frida Kahlo lookalike. Part of the fun is that his handlebar mustache grasps and shoots two tiny pistols.

The campaign, including TV, radio, posters, a website and a phone app that lets users add a mustache to their own photos, was so successful that the Mexican film festival in May 2012 not only sold out, but the young entrepreneur who created the event is now working with Alma to expand it beyond films to include Mexican food, tequilas and art.

3. Alma also tackled the very different issue of sustainability, developing giant Glad trash bags in the form of tents. Ten Glad Tents were distributed at SXSW to attendees who promised to live in them and then use the tents as a giant trash bag to dispose of rubbish at the end of the festival.

The USH Ideas judges said the Glad Tent was perfectly targeted to Millenials who care about the environment but wouldn't normally feel a connection to Clorox's Glad brand. Plus young festival attendees may be more open than most people to sleeping in a plastic bag. Alma has entered "Glad Tent" in six different categories at Cannes.

4. The California Milk Processor Board's "Battle" TV commercial by independent Grupo Gallegos depicts a child's fantastical dreams from drinking a glassful of milk before bedtime.

5. Omnicom-backed LatinWorks' annual campaign for Austin's Latin American film festival Cine Las Americas is a perennial festival favorite, featuring radio and TV spots using absurd but genuine pronouncements by real Latin American leaders, with the tagline "If this is our reality, imagine our films." This year's radio campaign, including new Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro who campaigned for the presidency by claiming Hugo Chavez visited him in the form of a little bird, keeps the bar high.

Three of the five winners -- "Adios Cliches, Hola Mexico," "Cine Las Americas" and the "Batalla" milk spot -- were also winners last month at the Wave Festival for Latin America, in the first year the U.S. Hispanic market participated in that awards show in Rio de Janeiro.

The USH Ideas awards were organized by Circulo Creativo and AHAA. The top five ideas were chosen by the judges from the 25 winners from about 300 entries.

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