StarMedia fires up image

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Starmedia network is sharpening its image.

With competitors such as Quepasa.com or Yupi.com battling for loyalty in the world of Spanish- and Portuguese-language Web portals, StarMedia is breaking a new TV, print, radio, out-of-home and online campaign in the U.S. and eight other countries.

"This campaign is an evolution of our marketing message," said Patricio Carmody, VP-marketing, StarMedia Network. "The battlefield has some competition and we are trying to define our image."

AIMING FOR YOUTH

The new effort touts StarMedia's fun and youthful community of users, Mr. Carmody said."Our target is defined as [ages] 15 to 25 with a bull's-eye in [the] 18 to 24 [age group]."

He said StarMedia is spending about the same on advertising this year as it did last year, and the amount spent in each country will depend on the traffic generated there. Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. Hispanic market generate the most traffic.

First-quarter page views were 2.1 billion, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' ABC Interactive, a 28% increase over the previous quarter.

"We spent a great deal of time talking to users in all regions, understanding how they look at the Web. How they use it and how they relate to it," said Luis MarioBilenky, president of StarMedia Interactive Group. "That input helped us position our advertising efforts and to develop improvements in our new product. We are launching our 2001 StarMedia advertising product to answer consumers' wishes."

The revised site, available to users by the end of the month, will have a new look and will be faster and simpler, Mr. Carmody said.

LOCAL CONTENT

Local appeal is very important to StarMedia's image, Mr. Carmody said. Ads reflect local Internet content, users' dialect and customs.

In the commercials, a young man chats online with a girl and her friend. The girl offers to send her picture via e-mail and asks him to do the same. When he can't find one he likes, he sends her a picture of a well-known celebrity. The celebrity he chooses varies by region. Impressed, the girl invites him to go to the movies, and asks him to bring a friend. The young man shows up for the date with the celebrity.

Puerto Rican singer and song-writer Carlos Ponce appears in commercials running in the U.S., Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Soap opera star Thiago Lacerda appears in Brazil and comedian/interviewer Andres Kusnetzoff in Argentina.

In the U.S., the TV commercials will air on Telemundo, and print ads will run in Hispanic Business, Latina and People en Espanol. Radio and out-of-home support in major Hispanic markets. The campaign is themed,"StarMedia. Tu communidad de Internet." (StarMedia. Your Internet community).

Heymann, Bengoa, Berbari, Buenos Aires, handles creative. Media buying is handled by McCann-Erickson Worldwide.

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