Allstate, Telemundo Start Online Awards for Telenovela Fans

Categories Include Best Bad-Luck Moment, a Tie-in With the Marketer's 'Mala Suerte' Hispanic Ad Campaign

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In an unusual awards show that combines Hispanics' fondness for social media, awards of any kind and telenovelas, Spanish-language network Telemundo and Allstate are polling viewers for their favorite novela moments and will create an all-digital awards show around the winners in 20 categories.

A scene from 'El Clon': With their bizarre plot twists and endless melodrama, novelas abound in memorable bad-luck moments.
A scene from 'El Clon': With their bizarre plot twists and endless melodrama, novelas abound in memorable bad-luck moments.

Those categories include Best Actor, Best Kiss, Best Novela, Best Slap and a special Allstate-inspired Best Bad-Luck Moment, evoking the Hispanic ad campaign Allstate broke in January 2011 featuring a character called El Senor de Mala Suerte who unwittingly inflicts bad luck on everyone around him.

Novelas, with their bizarre plot twists and endless melodrama, abound in memorable bad-luck moments. The four nominees in that category include a bride who is jilted at the alter in mid-ceremony as the groom locks eyes with the woman he really loves in "Perro Amor," and a scene from "El Clon" in which Latifa's father dictates she must marry not her fiance but his ugly friend.

In a further stroke of bad luck for Latifa, he bestows the original fiance on her sister.

"We know Hispanics, especially those who prefer Spanish, are big users of digital and social media, even more than the general market," said Georgiana Flores, senior manager of integrated marketing communications at Allstate.

Sixty-eight percent of online U.S. Hispanics visit a social networking site at least once a month, compared to 58% of non-Hispanics, according to a recent Forrester survey. And 25% of online Hispanics have a Twitter account, and 14% tweet at least once a week, compared to 6% of non-Hispanics. They have more friends, too, with an average of 150 friends for the 74% of online Hispanics who have a Facebook account, compared to 130 friends for non-Hispanics, of whom 64% have a Facebook account, according to Forrester.

Working with Hispanic media agency Tapestry, Telemundo opened the voting for the "Allstate Presents Premios Telemundo Novelas" ("premios" is Spanish for "prizes") on June 9, and had 200,000 votes within a week. Winners will be announced June 30. In the meantime, the contest is being promoted on NBC Universal-owned Telemundo and its website, and by the 52 nominated telenovela actors who are lobbying their fan base on Twitter and Facebook. Novela fans are flocking to telemundo.com to watch the videos of the nominees in different categories, make comments, vote, and suggest questions to ask the winners. The nominees are drawn from the 10 novelas that have run on Telemundo over the last year.

"The end result is a deconstructed awards show for today's digital and social media Hispanic," said Peter Blacker, Telemundo's exec VP-digital media and emerging businesses. "While there's voting, the process by which the awards are given out and the way the audience can see it is turned inside out and designed so on a computer or mobile phone you can watch all the awards at once, or one at a time, or just see the ones you care about. You can create your own show."

Telemundo did host an event for nominees that will provide content for the broadband show, and the network will deliver the prize to each winner and film them while asking questions. Mr. Blacker said, "If someone is awarded for best slap, we'd ask the winner what it's like to get slapped in a novela? And have you been slapped in real life? Can we slap you now?"

There's no rate card for pricing an initiative where the client is woven into the concept and involved from the beginning in the creative process. Mr. Blacker said some of the deal is media based, so the number of times the 30-second pre-roll ad is shown can be calculated. "And we've been very transparent with [Allstate] on the investment required to start this," he said. "Clients understand we have to build it together, rather than just slapping on a logo and charging for media."

The videos novela fans are watching, commenting and voting on are preceded by a pre-roll ad from Allstate's new Bad-Luck campaign by Lapiz, Leo Burnett's Hispanic ad agency. The general-market campaign by Burnett has a slightly different focus, featuring a character, Mayhem, who actually creates -- appropriately enough -- mayhem, like car accidents.

"We found through testing that in the general market, if there's a car accident we blame the other driver," Ms. Flores said. "Hispanics see it as fate, as if it was meant to happen. [So in the Hispanic campaign] instead of representing mayhem and causing damage, our character represents an unfortunate set of circumstances that leads to accidents. Like he opens an umbrella [on a sunny day] that distracts a driver who has an accident."

Hispanics, often less educated about insurance products, are interested in information, so more detail about products is included in those spots, she said. In the last few years, marketing insurance to Hispanics has become highly competitive. In 2010, Allstate spent about $40 million on Spanish-language media, according to Kantar Media, but was outspent by State Farm, with almost double that budget.

Ms. Flores, a Spanish speaker, has been checking out the nominees and disclosed her vote for Best Bad-Luck Moment: "The Clone" and the hapless Latifa (who in the end does live happily ever after).

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