Report From the Hispanic Awards Ceremony

Grupo Gallegos, La Comunidad and Conill Are Big Winners

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NEW YORK ( -- Two independent creative agencies on opposite coasts won Best of Show and this year's most-awarded campaign in Advertising Age's eighth annual Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards.
This year's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards ceremony was held in the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
This year's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards ceremony was held in the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

Arts Center
The awards were announced last night at a ceremony at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

Grupo Gallegos always finds a way to make battery longevity laugh-out-loud funny. One of three Best of Show contenders in 2005 with "Japanese Hand," the Long Beach, Calif., agency took the top prize this year with Energizer's "Beard."

"It's simple and funny," says Jaime Rosado, one of this year's judges and VP-regional creative director for Puerto Rico and Caribbean at JWT PR. "The kind of work that confirms how entertaining advertising should be."

Most-awarded campaign
The most-awarded campaign this year was Virgin Mobile's "No seas normal" ("Don't be normal") created by La Comunidad, Miami. The weird premise is that abnormal people -- sporting cocker-spaniel ears or a pin-size head or a peculiar voice -- are reassured of their normality because they have bad experiences with cellphone companies like everyone else. Virgin Mobile then challenges everyone to not be normal.

One of the most skillfully integrated campaigns in the Hispanic market, "No seas normal" won the only Gold for Multimedia as well as Gold and Silver for Radio and TV.

Grupo Gallegos also picked up Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in TV and print for its first work for the California Milk Processor Board and for Comcast, a client for two years. The agency continues to pitch aggressively for new business, and is one of three Hispanic shops challenging incumbent Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston, in the Wal-Mart review, one of the biggest accounts in the Hispanic market.

Most trophies
The agency that took home the most trophies this year was Conill, Saatchi & Saatchi's Hispanic agency. Although Conill is one of the oldest Hispanic agencies, started in 1968 by a Cuban couple named Conill and 100% holding company-owned by Publicis Groupe, the shop has experienced a creative resurgence in the last few years. At this year's awards, Conill won prizes for four different clients: Toyota Motor Sales USA for 4Runner and Tundra TV spots, Procter & Gamble Co. for Tide in both print and TV, T-Mobile in TV and radio, and the kind of pro bono campaign every creative loves to do, for Latinbeat Film Festival.

Interestingly, Grupo Gallegos, La Comunidad and Conill all have creative leaders from Argentina, the Spanish-speaking country with the edgiest, most-award-winning creative work. Favio Ucedo joined John Gallegos to open Grupo Gallegos five years ago; former Wieden & Kennedy creative Jose Molla started La Comunidad six years ago with his brother Joaquin, who's based in Buenos Aires; and Pablo Buffagni worked at several Hispanic shops before joining Conill. All three started at agencies in their native Buenos Aires but have been working in the U.S. long enough to grasp the nuances of the very different Hispanic market here.

JWT PR, San Juan
Other big winners this year are JWT PR, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Vidal Partnership, New York. JWT PR dominated the newspapers category, won one of only two radio Gold awards, for Energizer in Puerto Rico, and the only Gold in the nontraditional/guerrilla-marketing category, for Cadbury Adams' Halls throat lozenges.

Cars and alcoholic beverages have always been hotly contested categories. As Hispanic ad spending grows quickly in other product categories like wireless, good creative work is following. This year, wireless businesses Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Sprint and Comcast's Digital Voice were all big winners.

This year there were a record 717 entries, including many ads with a World Cup theme. The tournament was the biggest driver of an increase of more than 20% in ad spending on Spanish-language media in the first half of 2006.

The awards' fastest-growing category is Interactive. Those entries more than doubled in two years, to 65 this year from just 29 in 2004 and 39 last year. This year also saw the first Viral entries.

Ad Age conducts the Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards in cooperation with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. This year's awards show was organized by Del Rivero Messianu DDB, Miami, a leading Hispanic ad agency, under the direction of Chief Creative Officer Luis Miguel Messianu.
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