Marketers of All Stripes Will Star in Univision Branded Reality Show

Hispanic Network's 'Apprentice'-as-Beauty-Contest Showcases Ford, JC Penney, L'Oreal and Cingular

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NEW YORK ( -- It's Miss Universe meets "The Apprentice." Marketers are stampeding into Spanish-language network Univision's reality show "Nuestra Belleza Latina" ("Our Latin Beauty").
Latin beauties: The contestants will compete in branded challenges.
Latin beauties: The contestants will compete in branded challenges. Credit: G Murillo

A dozen finalists will be announced April 3 for the weekly show that will combine Latinos' love of beauty pageants with "Apprentice"-like branded challenges for Ford Motor Co., JC Penney, and L'Oreal's Maybelline New York and Garnier.

Contestants turned creatives
In mid-April, for example, contestants will go to Ford's Hispanic ad agency, Zubi Advertising, to pitch ideas for a spot for the Ford Edge.

"They'll come to our office, be told about the vehicle, and come back and pitch ideas to us, and we'll judge them," said Joe Zubi, the agency's chief operating officer. "They'll need to show their creative side."

David Rodriguez, Ford's multicultural marketing communications manager, said contestants will get around in new Ford Edge crossovers.

More makeup
A selling point for L'Oreal is that Hispanic women are bigger consumers of cosmetics than non-Hispanic women.

"A program like 'Nuestra Belleza Latina' lets us show products being used and shows that they are appropriate for all different skin types," said Daniel Villarroel, director-multiethnic marketing for Maybelline New York and Garnier. "We'll also have a branded challenge: They're going to have to come up with a theme for one of our display events at a retailer."

Mr. Villarroel said one of the company's Spanish-speaking makeup artists will introduce the challenge on the show. The contestants will compete in teams of three, with one acting as a creative director and the other two as models, he said.

JC Penney is supplying the contestants' wardrobes and the furnishings for the Miami mansion where they will live during the show, said Manny Fernandez, the retailer's multicultural-marketing director. Next month, the contestants will head to a store in Miami for a challenge, perhaps involving the company's private-brand merchandise.

An opportunity to be interactive
"It's not your run-of-the-mill Latin beauty pageant," Mr. Fernandez said. "And the Hispanic market doesn't have as many reality shows [as the general market]. There's an opportunity to be interactive." A JC Penney microsite, accessible through Univision's website, will offer a closer look at the merchandise and the chance to buy it.

"We've been working really closely with Univision, and I'm going down [to Miami] to approve the house and attend fittings," said Olivia Vela, JC Penney's multicultural programs marketing manager. The retailer's Hispanic shop, Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, is also involved.

Each of the three marketers involved in challenges also will get a 40-second branded recap, shot by Univision, that sums up the week's action.

Roberto Garcia, Cingular's executive director of Hispanic marketing, said he loved the mix of reality show and beauty pageant and immediately made Cingular's exclusive mobile sponsorship of the show part of the company's deal with Univision in the last TV upfront.

Putting the word out
To promote the sponsorship, Cingular is shooting a spot this week with its Hispanic agency, WPP Group's Bravo, Miami, starring Univision personality Giselle Blondet, who will host the show, he said.

"We'll do text alerts to remind people to vote every week, and include highlights of the next episode," Mr. Garcia said. Branded "call to vote" banners will appear along the bottom of the screen, and Cingular will do an educational 30-second "How to Vote" vignette.

The contestants' fate will be determined by viewers' votes, judges and the contestants themselves. Univision will sign up the winner as an on-air personality, and the four sponsors are contributing cash and prizes.
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