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Hispanic Creative Ad Awards 2008

Toyota Game Play Takes Best of Show

Conill Tops La Comunidad for Most Awards in Competition as a Wealth of New Players Make Strides in Hispanic Theater

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Two of the three contenders for Best of Show this year in Advertising Age's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards ranged far from traditional use of media. That's a major change since the competition started 10 years ago, when the winners were mostly TV spots; through the years the Best of Show prize usually has gone to a TV or radio commercial.

Agency of the year
1. Based on Best of Show (10 points), Gold (7), Silver (5), Bronze (3)
This year, fresh thinking and technology triumphed as the judges' Best of Show debate came down to three attention-grabbing pieces of work. During a televised soccer tournament, Toyota ran videos along the bottom of the screen that appeared to be part of the game but featured participants such as the lineman distracted by a Toyota billboard on the field. The campaign, tagged "Is that the Lineman?" was the eventual Best of Show winner.

"['Lineman'] opens new territory for creativity in our market that has been so focused on 30-second TV spots," says Sergio Alcocer, one of this year's judges and president-chief creative officer of LatinWorks.

Another favorite, the highly interactive integrated campaign "Heineken City," created a virtual luxury condo development that was really a world of Heineken, delivered through a minisite, Facebook applications, and print and out-of-home ads. And the judges laughed every time they watched "Pants," one of a series of TV spots in which musicians come to untimely ends, driving home the message that fans should enjoy them on music site Cyloop while they can.

More-receptive marketers
The Best of Show winner, Conill, was also the most-awarded agency, followed closely by La Comunidad (see box). A total of 25 agencies won prizes this year, and a record 760 entries were received.

Conill, Saatchi & Saatchi's U.S. Hispanic agency, had a trio of award-winning clients in T-Mobile USA, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide and Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The campaigns Conill crafts for Toyota are some of the most innovative work in the Hispanic market and take advantage of new technology as well as big ideas. Big-screen TVs, for instance, made it possible to make it look like a revolving platform displaying a Tundra truck was being pushed by a strong man hidden under the platform.

The big change Conill VP-Creative Director Pablo Buffagni sees is that in a tough business environment, media and clients are more receptive to concepts that stand out.

"In the last year, everyone has become a lot more open, and that's the best help a creative can have," he says. "Instead of looking for ways to kill [an idea], lately when I go to meetings they say, 'Yes, do this.' Unbelievable."

Toyota was the most-awarded marketer this year, with winning work from three different agencies. In addition to Conill, which won four prizes, Toyota's Puerto Rican agency, Badillo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, won three Bronzes, and interactive agency Nobox Marketing Group picked up a Silver.

P&G had winning work from four different agencies, more than any other marketer. Conill came up with two new versions of the long-running Tide anti-stain print work: "Angelitos" ("Little Angels") and "Manch�n" ("Big Stain"). Bronze awards went to Winglatino for Downy fabric softener, Puerto Rico's De la Cruz & Asociados for Duracell and Bromley Communi-cations for "Solo de Chikas," a young Latina take on P&G's Beinggirl.com site for Always.

The Beyond Hispanic category, added last year to recognize the growing amount of work clients are asking U.S. Hispanic agencies to do for broader audiences beyond the Latino market, grew in entries and prizes. LatinWorks won a Gold award for an Anheuser-Busch spot for Bud Light that aired during the Super Bowl, and La Comunidad picked up two Bronzes for its call-for-entries campaign for the One Show awards. Another Bronze went to Inspire for an urban spot for McDonald's Corp.

Entering the fray
A look at several of this year's first-time winners offers some clues to the way the Hispanic market continues to attract new players. When direct-marketing judge Michael Saray, president of Michael Saray Hispanic Marketing, helped pick Aspen Marketing Group's work for Qwest Communications for a direct-marketing Gold award, he commented, "I didn't know they did Hispanic." They didn't -- until now. This year, Aspen acquired Experiencia, a Hispanic events and promotions agency now known as Aspen Latino. Separately, Aspen has been building a Latino direct-marketing capability within the main agency, and that unit produced the winning work.

Another Gold winner, Elevation, recently signed a strategic alliance with Dentsu America to help the Japanese agency enter the U.S. Hispanic market.

"Dentsu called us last year to do some adaptation and strategic plans to help introduce brands into the Latino market, but we haven't done anything yet," said Rodolfo Hernandez, chief creative officer of Elevation in Washington. The agency hopes to work for Dentsu clients Toyota, in corporate communications, and Canon cameras.

Ad Age conducts the Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards in cooperation with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

MARKETING CHALLENGE: As the sponsor of the popular Copa Libertadores soccer championship, Toyota wanted to own the tournament, telecast on Fox Sports en Espa�ol, and use it to introduce the 2008 Corolla model in an engaging way.

CREATIVE SOLUTION: During televised soccer games, viewers are used to the camera cutting to other action, such as a coach shouting from the sideline. It struck the Conill creatives that they could buy the space along the bottom of the TV screen and insert entertaining 15-second videos that looked like they were part of the game. In one, a flag-waving lineman is distracted from the match by a huge billboard of the 2008 Corolla on the field. In another, a photographer shooting the match stops to stare at the billboard. The third video features a player warming up to go into the game, until he sees the Corolla sign. Each ends with the voice-over: "The new Toyota Corolla. So special it's impossible not to fall in love."

"When you realize it's a joke, the viewer smiles," says Pablo Buffagni, Conill's VP-creative director. "And it doesn't interfere with the game."

Attention-grabbing without being intrusive, the videos were inserted at least once in each of the games that Mexico played, ensuring the highest ratings.

The judges loved the idea of bringing such a nontraditional approach to TV, as well as the compelling execution.

What's next? "We're exploring the possibility of airing this [concept] in other places," Mr. Buffagni says.

~Laurel Wentz


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