Why Marketers Should Care About a Mexican Kid Falling Into a Stream

Gamesa Cookie Spot Shows Power of Social Media -- and Online Hispanic Community

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Laura Martinez
Laura Martinez
Joe Kutchera, the author of "Latino Link: Building Brands Online With Hispanic Communities and Content," is convinced that targeting Hispanics online is no longer possible without building -- and maintaining -- a continuous relationship with consumers on social networks. Perhaps that is why Kutchera, a former Time Warner executive, loves to tell the story of Gamesa, a PepsiCo-owned company that turned a viral sensation into its own advertising pitch in Mexico.

For the uninitiated, "La caĆ­da de Edgar" ("Edgar's Fall") is a home video featuring a Mexican kid named Edgar and his cousin Fernando hiking on a ranch near their home town of Monterrey. The video, originally uploaded in 2006, became so popular that it continues to attract viewers (over 21 million viewings as of Nov. 30) and gave rise to a local phenomenon that included ringtones, games, parodies, remixes and even a web page where Edgar was proposed for Mexico's presidency.

The original video:

Enter Gamesa the PepsiCo-owned manufacturer of snacks in Mexico, which tracked down the kids and hired them to re-make the story. Only this time, the chubby kid doesn't fall into the water. Roman soldiers enter the scene and throw his friend -- and the cameraman -- into the stream, while Edgar enjoys a Gamesa Emperador (Emperor) cookie and a voice over says: "For the emperor in you. Emperador cookies; filled with power."

Emperador version:

Granted, the slightly longer Gamesa version did not garner 20 million-plus views, but has been viewed a good 6.5 million times, with visitors leaving comments such as "ha, ha, vengeance tastes like good vanilla cookie." The Gamesa video, says Kutchera, speaks volumes of the power of social media and how a good, engaging story can be told regardless of the media. Of course it also helped that there are an estimated 30 million people online in Mexico, which makes the Web an imperative in any type of marketing effort.

And do you know which other market represents 30 million people online? U.S. Hispanics. Figures released this week by eMarketer point at the fact that while the overall growth of the online population in the U.S. is stagnating, most future growth will come from increases in minority audiences, with Hispanics being the fastest-growing segment. For next year, eMarketer forecasts 32.2 million Hispanics, or 62.9% of the US Hispanic population, will be online.

Kutchera, who is already working on a second book (or perhaps a "vook," a "video book") is confident there will be plenty more stories to tell, and not all about falling kids and cookie heroes.

Laura Martinez is a freelance journalist living in New York. Read more from Laura daily at Mi Blog Es Tu Blog
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