U.S. Hispanic Awards Honor Toyota, Volvo, California Milk

See the Top Five Creative Ideas in Latino Market

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The five best ideas in the U.S. Hispanic market involve hijacking unsuspecting car buyers, writing graffiti in the snow about sunny travel destinations, and giving cars nicknames.

The winners of the U.S.H. Idea awards, announced by creative group Circulo Creativo in partnership with AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing at an awards show Tuesday night in Miami, include the top five ideas culled from all the entries:

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1.Voted the best idea, the TV commercial "Brave" for the California Milk Processor Board by independent agency Grupo Gallegos focuses on a young man recalling his childhood as he takes a snack break (with milk) at work. When he was afraid to go to bed at night, his mother encouraged him over a glass of milk to think of brave people. He thinks of fire fighters, and that's what he turns out to be now that he's all grown up. The spot ends with the line "What you say with a glass of milk lasts forever."

"We talked about it being a TV commercial [and decided] we shouldn't penalize an ad because it's a traditional medium," said Aldo Quevedo, who is both AHAA's chair and part of Circulo Creativo, as well as principal/creative director at Hispanic shop Richards/Lerma. "The production is impeccable, the idea is simple, and the product is in the middle of everything."

For the first time, Grupo Gallegos teamed up with its milk client's other agency, "Got Milk" creator Goodbye, Silverstein & Partners, to address the entire California market, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic. The spot was also one of the big winners at the Wave Festival for Latin America earlier this month in Rio de Janeiro, picking up four Film and Film Craft awards, including the only gold for a U.S. Hispanic shop.

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2. A young startup agency, We Believers, came up with "Volvo Hijacking Service" to address Volvo's problem that its cars weren't part of the consideration set when buyers were looking for a luxury brand. So the agency developed fake online ads that popped up when people searched for rival car brands like Mercedes or BMW, and offered them a free ride to that car dealership. Except that the driver, who was really a Volvo salesman, turned up in an Volvo, which he let the prospective buyer drive as they discussed the car's features en route to the rival dealership. During the month Volvo did the hijack in Miami, three out of 10 participants decided to visit the Volvo dealer, and sales rose by 27%.

"It's like guerrilla digital," said Luis Miguel Messianu, who chairs Circulo Creativo and is president and chief creative officer of Hispanic shop Alma. "It's Latin ingenunity."

"It's a perfect program for acquisition," Mr. Quevedo said. "With car sales, the key thing is butts in seats."

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3. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and its longtime Hispanic agency, Saatchi & Saatchi's Conill, celebrated Toyota's tenth year as the most-loved auto brand among the Hispanic community with "Más Que un Auto" (or "More Than a Car"). Playing on the Hispanic penchant for giving everyone a nickname, even a car that is considered almost a family member, the heart of the effort was a small, symbolic badge that Toyota owners could order free from the company and place on their cars bearing the unique names of their automobiles.

Read the indepth "Behind the Work" feature Ad Age did on the campaign here.

"We liked it beccause as Volvo was an acquisition play, this was a retention play, with a great level of engagement with a consumer who already loves the brand," Mr. Quevedo said.

Mr. Messianu said the effort is not only work for a big brand – something Circulo Creativo tries to highlight in its awards – but it "understands your audience and the Latino mentality and the value of emotional connection."

In recognition of Toyota's history of valuing the Hispanic consumer and developing some of the most impactful digital and social engagement efforts in the U.S. Hispanic market, the car maker is being named 2015 Marketer of the Year today at a luncheon at the AHAA conference.

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4. The Mexico Board of Tourism and Leo Burnett's Lapiz capitalized on Chicago's awful winter with "Snow Graffiti." Seizing the moment, the agency created graffiti out of snow, spelling out messages on walls like "Come meet under the sun, visit Mexico.com" and "Beaches with sand this white."

Mr. Quevedo said what the judges really liked was the way the campaign reached people exactly when they were open to listening to the message. "It was snowing for days in Chicago!" he said. "And when you have a good relationship with the client, you can execute things quickly in a powerful way."

5. In another Mexico Board of Tourism effort by Lapiz, "Los Cabos Reselfies" found a clever way to reassure tourists who didn't really believe the tourism center had recovered from a devastating hurricane after just eight weeks and was ready and eager for visitors. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon who own homes in the resort area were persuaded to return to Los Cabos and recreate their own earlier vacation pictures to show that the resort was undamaged.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mixed up Volvo and Audi in the Volvo Hijacking section.

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