La Comunidad snags 7 awards

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La Comunidad was the most awarded agency in Advertising Age's sixth annual Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards. The Miami Beach, Fla., shop picked up seven prizes for three very different clients-Citibank, Volkswagen and direct response advertiser Manos del Sur.

Citibank was one of many first-time entrants this year, as more and more marketers step into the U.S. Hispanic market and invest seriously enough to do award-winning work. Citibank's first foray into Spanish-language creative was an integrated campaign that won a Gold and Bronze award for TV and Silver awards for both radio and newspaper ads.

Another advertiser new to the Hispanic market, Energizer Batteries, picked up Gold and Bronze TV awards for its first original Spanish-language spots, by Grupo Gallegos, Long Beach, Calif.

Judging by recent launches and reviews, there will be more newcomers in next year's awards. At La Comunidad alone, Best Buy Co. broke its first real Spanish-language effort in August and Virgin Mobile picked the agency in September to launch its prepaid service in the Hispanic market, where the company is likely to spend around $10 million next year.

23 AGENCIES WIN

Twenty-three different agencies won awards this year, chosen from a record 545 entries, up by more than 16% from 467 last year. The Vidal Partnership, New York, and Heineken USA, the most consistently winning creative partnership in the Hispanic market, picked up Best of Show for the second time in three years with a TV spot playing on last year's blackout (see Page S-2).

Vidal and Heineken won a second Gold, for radio, and a Silver for TV. More than any other Hispanic marketer, Heineken has discovered with Vidal how to target specific Latin nationalities with ads so funny and smart that no one feels left out.

Direct marketing, brought into the competition last year, was the fastest-growing category. Interactive was this year's most-improved category, as the hard work of Spanish-language portals paid off with more marketers embracing Spanish-language Web sites and online ads. Frito-Lay's site by Nobox Marketing Group, San Juan, Puerto Rico, inviting consumers to make a video dancing and singing about Doritos DJ was pure fun. And ads for Ford Motor Co.'s Focus made it clear why Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., has a growing reputation as the savviest Hispanic agency for online advertising (See Page S-14).

The Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards contest is held in cooperation with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. This year's winners were honored at an awards show Oct. 1 at El Museo del Barrio in New York.

The 2004 jury was headed by leading international creative Toni Segarra, chief creative officer of WPP Group-backed S,C,P,F in Barcelona. The jury also included creative directors Enrique Renta, a partner at EJE Sociedad Publicitaria in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, and Daniel Marrero, a partner at Creative on Demand in Coral Gables. The other creative was Florencia Leibaschoff from Omnicom Group's Dallas-based Dieste Harmel & Partners, who in June was a member of the first U.S. Hispanic creative duo to participate in the Young Creatives competition at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

KEY MARKETERS REPRESENTED

Four senior marketers were judges: Roberto Garcia, ethnic marketing manager at Masterfoods USA; Saul Sola, national brand manager, Chivas Regal USA; Eddie Lindley, brand manager-U.S. Hispanic for Knorr at Unilever Bestfoods; and Nicholas Montes, who was associate director-multicultural marketing at Verizon Wireless but joined American Greetings Corp.'s AGMobile as VP-marketing in August.

From Ad Age: Financial Editor Mercedes M. Cardona and International Editor Laurel Wentz. AA staffers including interactive reporter Kris Oser judged the interactive category separately, and the direct marketing category was judged with the help of Michael Saray, chairman of the Direct Marketing Association's Directo committee. The descriptions of winning ads were written by Ms. Cardona and Ms. Wentz.

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