Allstate Kicks Off Sueño MLS 2012; Q&A With Karen Uhler, Marketing Director of Sponsorships

Allstate Corp. is not only one of the nation’s top 25 largest advertisers in Hispanic media, according to Advertising Age’s, Hispanic Fact Pack 2011. The  insurer has also joined the “Best-in-class” group of companies for allocating over 14.2 percent of its marketing budget in Hispanic Media, per a comprehensive study conducted by Santiago Solutions Group and released by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA.)

For the past two years, Allstate has been the presenting sponsor of Sueño MLS, a nationally televised search for the best undiscovered soccer talent in the U.S. Now on its sixth year, the program allows soccer enthusiasts to participate in a national competition that is chronicled every week on Univision Network’s República Deportiva.

Karen Uhler, Allstate Marketing Director of Sponsorships, responded a few questions via email from Portada. An edited excerpt follows.

Portada: How did Allstate’s sponsorship come about?

Karen Uhler: Sueño MLS is now on its sixth year and Allstate has been the presenting sponsor for the past two years. This year, we have added a unique element to the competition with the search of the best youth goalkeeper to win the “Good Hands” award – El Portero Allstate. Allstate has supported soccer fans for six years through the Mexican National Soccer team partnership and supporting Sueño MLS is an extension of our commitment to soccer fans.

P: Why is this program important for an advertiser like Allstate?

KU: At Allstate, we celebrate protection in soccer - and in everyday life - and we’re committed to bringing sports fans closer to the game they love through this initiative. For us it is a perfect fit.

P: Besides soccer and the MLS program, how does Allstate market to US Hispanics?

KU: Allstate recognized the importance of the U.S. Hispanic population early on, and has stayed on top of Hispanic consumer trends and population growth patterns. The company is the official insurance sponsor of the Mexican National Team, as well as Major League Soccer (MLS), and U.S. Men’s and Women’s soccer teams. Allstate also supports New Futuro, an organization that provides free bilingual higher education resources to Hispanic families in their local communities.

P: How important is the U.S. Hispanic market to a company like Allstate?

KU: I would say approximately 30% of our agencies serve customers who are Spanish-preferred. Allstate Agencies are located in communities across the country and serve consumers of all backgrounds based on their preferences. We offer them the opportunity to talk to a live Allstate representative in Spanish 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers can also find information on our products and services on a dedicated, Spanish-language website,, which is not just a translation of but was developed based on research and input from Hispanic consumers.

P: What would you say is the most challenging part of marketing insurance to US Hispanics? Is it very different from the messaging to the general market?

KU: Marketing to Hispanics has to go beyond language; it is about needs and expectations. We care about what is important to consumers and develop our products and services with that in mind. We look specifically at how to protect what they have worked so hard for and built for a better future. That is why consumers see our Allstate message wherever they are – in magazines and newspapers, on television, online, on the radio, as they drive – and even through our sports sponsorships like soccer, football, the U.S. Olympic Team, basketball and community sponsorships, like New Futuro.

P: Last year Allstate launched an online awards show featuring some memorable moments on Telemundo telenovelas, how did that go? Is Allstate working on something similar this year?
KU: We had a lot of fun working with Telemundo last year with the "Allstate Presents Premios Telemundo Novelas" and Allstate’s Best Mala Suerte (Bad Luck) moment. This year the Premios Telemundo are moving to a national TV broadcast, and we are looking forward to continuing the momentum we built with Telemundo in 2011. Stay tuned.

P: How do you work with your agencies? Do you have a Hispanic agency for creative? Which one for media planning/buying?
KU: Allstate works with its agencies as partners and together we contribute to a common goal:  engage the consumer. Lápiz is our creative agency for U.S. Hispanic and Tapestry is our media planning/buying agency.

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Marcos Baer @MarcosBaer

Marcos oversees editorial and sales. He is based in Portada's NYC headquarters. Prior to launching Portada in 2003, Marcos worked in both the media and finance sectors. He occupied leading roles at the Spanish edition of The Wall Street Journal, in Spain’s newspaper Cinco Dias and at SwissRe. He is an MBA, and a CFA. Marcos is a print junkie and also loves all things digital media. He also is passionate about everything related to New York City and loves to play tennis.


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