Susan Kuchinskas @susankuchinskas


Entrepreneurial “media chefs” cook up the best media plans at an agency that prides itself on its culture.


Elevator pitch:

media kitchenMulti-modal and digital-centric media entrepreneurs.

Origin story

The Media Kitchen was spun out of kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners in 2001, and it’s been riding the waves of digital change ever since. It’s still “embedded” within KBS and holding company MDC Partners, handling traditional and digital media planning and buying.

Secret sauce

You gotta be nice to make it here. This 85-person agency takes its culture very seriously. Lowenthal himself, with nine years at the top, aims to help staff grow into media stars. As one staffer said on GlassDoor, “If you are looking for a place that has creativity, innovation, and filled with nice people – this is it.” Adds Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen, “It creates a culture of collaboration, curiosity and creativity.”

Media decision-makers

Barry Lowenthal Head ShotA new client engagement always starts at the top, with Lowenthal himself meeting with the client to develop the scope of work. “That’s one of the things we’re really proud of,” he says. With an agency this size, the client should expect to have high touch from the management team.” Lowenthal will assess the client’s business goals, target audiences and what kinds of media they think would be appropriate. He’ll assign one of the agency’s seven group directors and sit down with that person to put together a staffing plan. Every group director and team is responsible for developing the scope of work, an overarching communication strategy and then overseeing channel strategy and tactical planning.

Media strategies

The agency has quickly evolved to meet market needs. In 2008, it created one of the first agency programmatic trading desks, Varick Media Management. These days, while as much as 50 percent of The Media Kitchen’s media buys are still done programmatically, programmatic is now handled by the agency’s search team, rebranding it as the programmatic media group. With this move, Lowenthal says, “Programmatic was immediately integrated into every one of our brand teams, because search is integrated into each of them.”

Current clients

Combe, TE Connectivity, CIT, Pink, Lane Bryant, Vagisil, Just for Men.

Campaigns of note

Goldman Sachs came to The Media Kitchen asking to drive more engagement with its onsite creative. But an analysis of site performance found that most people would not click on banners and go to the Goldman site. Instead, the agency helped Goldman create content hubs on partner sites that allowed consumers to engage with the content where they already were. Says Lowenthal, “Brands are spending millions of dollars to take consumers out of the flow of the internet. We needed to take their great content and put it into the flow.”

The Media Kitchen introduced Vanguard to fractional attribution, allowing the company to attribute each of its consumer touch points to conversion, increasing performance sevenfold.

What’s next?

Mobile is shaping the agency’s core strategy this year, in anticipation of the billions of people globally who will come online in the next five years solely via mobile devices.

We have to train people to think about media planning with a mobile filter.

Lowenthal is inspiring the staff to get out of the browser mentality and think beyond responsive design. In the future, he says, “The tiny screen will completely change the way businesses are built and the services that are created. The creativity coming from these countries will reshape our frame of reference on social, commercial and retailing.”

In the short term, the mobile emphasis means shifting the emphasis from mass media like television to finding “mobile moments” that can deliver consumers at every part of the purchase funnel with the right combination of media, apps and cross-device attribution. He says, “We have to train people to think about media planning with a mobile filter.”

CHECK OUT: Our Previous Agency Profile: Spark, a digital boutique backed by a global Agency Network

kraft koolaidA nice brand mix and media clout, for sure. But will accounts go back for another round of reviews?

Two food giants are merging to form The Kraft Heinz Company. The merger likely means brand expansion into Latin America, tighter screws on media agencies, and account reviews.

According to the press release, the newly combined company will have eight brands each worth more than $1 billion, as well as five brands worth between $500 million and $1 billion. Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, engineers of the deal, promise “substantial opportunity for synergies, which will result in increased investments in marketing and innovation.”

Basil T. Maglaris, director of corporate affairs for Kraft Foods Group, tells Portada, “This is a transformative deal that brings together a powerful combination of iconic brands and great talent. We are excited about the opportunity that this new company can offer for our consumers and customers. However, we can’t speculate on any changes after the transaction is completed. In the meantime, it’s business as usual at Kraft.”

Kraft Heinz says the synergy potential could add up to an estimated $1.5 billion in annual cost savings implemented by the end of 2017 from increased scale, the sharing of best practices and cost reductions.

There will certainly be economies of scale when it comes to media buying. But there are also interesting ways that the new company can get more bang out of its creative and media bucks, according to Xavier Mantilla, GM Latin America for Gravity4. For example, two brands can go in together, splitting a 30-second TV spot.

Mantilla worked on the Heinz business while he was at Universal McCann, and found significant lift for both brands when advertising Heinz Ketchup and Ore Ida together.

“In people’s minds, ketchup goes with potatoes. It was a smart way of buying a spot for Heinz but having two brands showcased,” he says – and the pairing created better brand lift. “With this acquisition, I think there’s the possibility to do more of that.”

In this regard, 3G Capital could be a big help, according to Marcelo M. Bicudo, CEO of Brand Union, Brazil. Bicudo says, “Traditionally, companies owned by 3G Capital are successful marketing across all disciplines. Tactics such as implementing integrated communication projects and maintaining a strong presence in traditional media, digital, brand activations and sponsorships are important. As leaders in the industry, they are great strategists when it comes to sales channels and point of sales.”

Agencies put to the test

When Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital acquired Heinz in 2014, it shifted its global media account, worth $250 million, to OMG, and gave U.S. media to IPG’s Universal McCann, shutting out incumbent Cramer-Krasselt. Also last year, Kraft consolidated its agencies, narrowing them down to four: mcgarrybowen, Leo Burnett, Taxi and Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

“All companies bought and administered by 3G face similar cost-reduction processes and need to find operational synergies, financial and marketing,” says Bicudo. “In marketing, they usually review projects, services and global strategy to strengthen and improve the presence of their brands along consumer journey. After a merger like this, 3G Capital often change marketing agencies or look for their own culture in service providers.”

When clients merge, they do take the opportunity to pit agencies against each other.

Mantilla, who left a post as SVP for UM in New York last month to join Gravity4, says that, in his experience, when clients merge, they do take the opportunity to pit agencies against each other. There’s danger here for both the incumbent and the wannabees. During the creative phase, it’s all glamor and excitement. But, during the procurement phase, he says, “Sometimes agencies promise great stuff, but they can’t deliver because they’ve cut their margins or don’t have enough people to service the account.”

Mantilla has seen his own agencies lose out in account reviews by being undercut on price. “We lost … when it came to the procurement phase, because, as incumbent, we came with a very real proposal. Our competition said, ‘We believe this is what it would take.'”

When it comes to reaching Hispanic consumers, Mantilla sees Kraft and Heinz as pioneers and leaders in the space. He also gives kudos to LatinWorks, Heinz’s multicultural agency. LatinWorks did not respond to a request for comment. Mantilla says, “The creative executions at LatinWorks have been great. The tactical work and content development by Kraft is great. When you have two good pieces that can come together and create a bigger whole, that’s what should happen in this merger.”

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Hispanic_mediatrends_thumbnail2Advertisers and demographers are waking up to the value of Latino consumers, with kudos from The Economist and Nielsen, as Toyota says thanks to LA locals.

Hispanics lead edge of media shifts

Not only are Hispanic Americans heavy and enthusiastic users of all kinds of media, their behavior can also help brands and agencies understand the direction the rest of the country will take. Hispanic consumers are bellwethers for overall media use, according to a study by Specific Media and SMG Multicultural.

They spend more time online, more time on mobile and more time multiscreening, the survey found. And, while they are more influenced by friends and family, they also are more influenced by advertising: 36 percent of Hispanic Americans felt smartphone ads often or very often influenced their purchases, compared to 17 percent of non-Hispanic Americans; 33 percent of Hispanics found web ads useful often or very often, compared to 20 percent of non-Hispanic Americans. That’s nice news for advertisers.

economistIn fact, they’re super consumers

So says a new report from Nielsen, thrillingly titled The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers. They’re talking about Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and all other multiculturals, who already make up 38 percent of the U.S. population. Nielsen says, “[M]ulticultural consumers … simultaneously maintain their cultural heritage and see themselves as part of the new mainstream, allowing them to mix and match endless choices and products to suit their effortless duality in lifestyles and tastes.”

No Latinos? : <

Even the august Economist has woken up to Hispanic Power. A recent Economist article details how important Latinos are to the United States economy. In fact, the growing number of U.S. Hispanics could provide a cultural and economic edge to our country, it says:

From Europe to north-east Asia, the 21st century risks being an age of old people, slow growth and sour, timid politics. Swelling armies of the elderly will fight to defend their pensions and other public services. Between now and mid-century, Germany’s median age will rise to 52. China’s population growth will flatten and then fall; its labour force is already shrinking. Not America’s. By 2050 its median age will be a sprightly 41 and its population will still be growing. Latinos will be a big part of that story.

Google Preferred aims at Hispanics

YouTube recently began offering the ability to run campaigns targeting Hispanic audiences as part of its Google Preferred option, according to the Wall Street Journal blog.

YouTube Hispanic lets advertisers buy upfront for a guaranteed audience, using a variety of factors to find video that will appeal to Hispanics.

Ricky-Martin-Show-Privado_Photo-1Toyota gets personal with LA customers

The automaker celebrated its tenth year as the top automotive brand among Hispanic consumers with a private concert with Ricky Martin. It invited some Toyota owners from the Los Angeles area to the showcase at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and showcased them during the event.

!ahora escuchar esto!

Cisneros Interactive took a majority investment in digital audio advertising network Audio.Ad, which reaches more than 35 million users in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market. Cisneros Interactive’s RedMas unit will be the exclusive seller of Audio.Ad advertising solutions in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, delivering spots to internet radio and audio streaming devices.


Skyword has expanded its offerings to include paid amplification of social media content. Andrew Wheeler, senior vice president of strategic services, calls the new offering “a natural extension that enables us to continue to help our clients expand their reach and build audiences.”

Skyword provides a cloud-based software platform that lets brands identify content creators and subject matter experts to produce brand content, and then manage the workflow through to distribution into social media. Last year, it introduced the ability for clients using the platform to organically distribute their content via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Portada Skyword 1

The new paid amplification program is a managed services offering in which specialists employed by Skyword manage and optimize promotions across the three social networks. For example, by taking advantage of Facebook’s improved targeting capabilities, Wheeler says, brands that want to target Hispanic consumers “can cover U.S. Spanish-speaking consumers, Hispanics in the U.S. who speak English, bilingual Hispanics in the U.S. and more.”

What we typically manipulate most is headlines.
Andrew Wheeler, Skyword
Andrew Wheeler, Skyword

Paid amplification specialists who run initiatives for clients use analytics to see what is and what isn’t working. “Based off that data, they will make decision to adjust content via headlines or budget accordingly. You need an ample amount of data to make decisions, so could be tested daily weekly or whenever based on how much data we collect,” Wheeler says. Skyword specialists working with brands using Skyword’s paid amplification services have several ways to optimize social media promotions. They may shift the targeting if there is not the right level of engagement, or they may shift budget to better-performing channels.

“What we typically manipulate most is headlines,” Wheeler says, “trying to capture that particular audience’s attention.

The content marketing software field is fragmented and crowded, according to a new report from Altimeter Group. “Growing channel and media complexity, as well as increasing adoption of content marketing, has given rise to a large, complex, and highly disparate content marketing software landscape,” wrote Rebecca Lieb, Altimeter Group analyst and lead author of the report.

The report identified more than 110 vendors in the space, and asked each of them to identify the top three use cases they supported. Skyword reported its most important use case was content creation, followed by workflow and then optimization.

In addition to the fragmentation and overlap in content marketing software, the ongoing emphasis on content marketing and social media could be seen as blurring the lines between public relations and marketing.

Spanish-language spots show advertisers’ increasing determination to reach Hispanics, while Skyword provides tips on doing it right.

Enterprise tests Spanish spots

Car rental agency Enterprise released a Spanish-language commercial in six U.S. markets, highlighting its service that picks up customers and drives them to rental locations. The 30-second spot by Bromley, “Vamos Por Ti,” began airing on Telemundo and Univisión in Texas and New Mexico, backed by radio and digital advertising. Lee Broughton, assistant vice president of Enterprise Brand Marketing, North America, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “We’re going after what we believe is a burgeoning demographic for the company,” Broughton said. “We really feel like we have an opportunity to build that demographic.”

Read our interview with Broughton here.

After stumbles, Target to double down on Hispanics

target campaignDuring the recession, Target changed its brand strategy from an emphasis on affordable style to rock-bottom prices. It didn’t work so well. Now, the brand is hoping Hispanics, long a big part of its consumer base, will help it with its own economic recovery. Its new CEO, Brian Cornell, told investors, “Our guest is going to be increasingly a Hispanic shopper.” While just 38 percent of Target shoppers overall identify the store as their favorite, some 54 percent of Hispanic millennials said it was their favorite.

Target’s new campaign, Sin Traducción, was created by LatinWorks, and has a strong social media component. Fans are encouraged to add their own ideas for untranslatable words via Twitter.

Hispanic mobile use not only big but still growing

It’s not late-breaking news to any marketer that Hispanics over-index for mobile and social media. This segment is also growing faster than other demographics, according to Celine Matthiessen of BIA/Kelsey, speaking at the Radio Ink Hispanic Media Conference.

PM Publicidad goes all in on total market

PM3 LogoPM Publicidad, the Atlanta-based, full-service ad agency, relaunched as PM3. The agency wanted to highlight its expertise beyond “just Hispanic,” it said. We’re not sure what they mean by that. But capabilities, backed by new staffing, now include media planning and buying, digital asset management and production services, social media management, experiential marketing, mobile app design and development. For example, PM3 recently created a content integration project with ESPN, beIN Sports, and Fox Deportes on behalf of its client NAPA.

Multicultural or truly localized?

In the marketing world, “multicultural” is often used as a synonym for Hispanic. Biiiig mistake, says George Levy of Skyword. He points out that localization of content needs to take into account the multiple cultures within the U.S. and Latin America. Even the language itself has nuances, Levy points out; for example, the folks in Portugal speak Portuguese differently from those who speak it in Spain. And don’t confuse a quesadilla with an arepa, for Pablo’s sake.

MaxPoint goes public

Adtech company MaxPoint Interactive began trading its stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Its software creates 44,000 “micro zones” called Digital Zips to create what it says is hyper-local advertising. MaxPoint aims to drive in-store sales for advertisers by helping them reach the right neighborhoods online for their local, regional, and national campaigns. Customers include Starbucks, Electrolux and pasta company Barilla.

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With the continued growth of mobile marketing comes a growing tracking and attribution problem. Cookies and tracking pixels have been the standard for measurement and attribution for close to 20 years, but what do we do now that cookieless mobile accounts for more than 50 percent of traffic to commercial websites?

Mike Margolin, RPA

Independent ad agency RPA takes the approach of connecting brands to audiences across all screens, rather than breaking campaigns out into mobile, online, social, etc., according to Mike Margolin, SVP and director of audience strategy for RPA. It’s important, he says, to shift the focus from channels to audiences, and then measure success across all channels, not just mobile. “Once the audience is at the center,” he says, “Cool things become available like cross-device user IDs and controlling messaging frequency across screens and devices. As more internet protocol is a part of the ad delivery process, the ability to do cross-device and cross-media targeting increases.”
Many vendors are innovating to solve this problem and, according to Margolin, a lot of this innovation has taken place among remnant ad networks. Now, though, the bigger ad networks are getting in the game, helping advertisers to track and measure cross-screen campaigns.

What do we do now that cookieless mobile accounts for more than 50 percent of traffic to commercial websites?

Campaign for Quickbooks Software

For Intuit’s Own It campaign, targeted to small business owners, RPA is using TubeMogul to serve video ads on both premium publishers like and non-premium ad networks including RocketFuel.
The campaign, designed to create a favorable impression of QuickBooks software, is a series of videos showing how small business owners are “owning” the management of their companies. TubeMogul provides a unified campaign management platform. “We might want an individual to see our ads no more than 10 times, across the entire campaign,” Margolin explains. “It also allows us to do message sequencing. On an individual user level — on both premium and non-premium inventory — we can show an individual user a [specific sequence of ads]. We can also test to see what’s the optimal sequence and frequency in driving a conversion further down the road.”



Reaching Hispanics at home or out and about, multiple screens and social media keep them tuned in.

Telemundo Media

AT&T sponsors Telemundo multiscreen talkback

In a nod to consumers’ increasing use of digital media while they enjoy TV, Telemundo has launched AT&T Presenta Suelta la Sopa Novelas, a digital and on-air variety show that lets viewers interact with hosts Erika De la Vega and Alessandra Villegas during commercial breaks in the 8 to 10 p.m. novella timeslot.

The hosts will pose a question each hour, and fans can respond via a website; then poll results will be featured on the audiences’ personal devices, as well as in “content capsules” during the TV programming.

photo: Courtney Rhodes
photo: Courtney Rhodes


Lo Hermosa!

While sales of cosmetics and beauty products overall have declined a bit, spending by Hispanics in seven key beauty categories grew year-over-year, according to Nielsen. They account for 16 percent of the total U.S. sales to this category and also drive 14 percent of overall fragrances sales and 13 percent of cosmetics sales, the top two beauty care categories for Hispanic shopper spending.

There are differences in spending between U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanics, as well as between men and women. The Nielsen report emphasizes that this segment is full of opportunity for health and beauty marketers, but only if they remember that this is a diverse group of consumers.

Nielsen says, “Retailers should vary their approach to each generation. Older generations place greater emphasis on skin care, while younger Latinos are more easily influenced by samples and celebrity endorsements. Younger Hispanics are possibly more likely to buy ‘in the moment’ than older Latinos, so they potentially have higher spontaneous purchasing.”

dieste cover

Hispanics by the book

 Dieste, Inc., recognized multicultural marketing and advertising specialists, have released their first book, 1+1=3 Changing The Equation With The Booming Hispanic Market. The book includes several chapters devoted to myths about Hispanics, along with ideas on how to woo Latinos based on the agency’s 20 years in business.


Influencers: the not-so-short list

Want to know the top Latino digital influencers? Check out the finalists for the Tecla Awards. Hispanicize 2015 and the Latina Mom Bloggers give these annual awards to recognize bloggers, journalists, brands and agencies. Hispanicize 2015 is a partnership of the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA), Hispanicize and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

photo of Oasis Bakery by Alpha
photo of Oasis Bakery by Alpha


Restaurant screens keep Hispanic diners captive audience

Admirable, the nation’s largest Hispanic digital signage network, now has 265 screens in Hispanic restaurants, showing 12-minute loops that combine global, country-specific and local news. The deployment makes use of cloud-based software from BroadSign International, which provides performance reports for Admirable advertisers. Advertisers, which include Telemundo, United Airlines, AARP, MetroPCS and Corona, can segment audiences by age, country of origin, location and income level. A Corona campaign during FIFA World Cup 2014 delivered a 19 percent sales lift for the beer. The companies are doing further testing to see how campaign elements affect response.

WPP’s stake in comScore no cause for concern among media agencies, who applaud the potential of the partnership.

ComScore-WPP: Half full or half empty?

Kantar and comScore have allied to provide what they’re calling best-of-breed, cross-media audience- and campaign-measurement to the international realm. Kantar, WPP’s data investment management decision, will work with comScore to integrate their technologies, and comScore will acquire the assets of Kantar’s Internet audience measurement businesses in certain European markets. To deepen the relationship, WPP will take an approximate 20 percent stake in comScore.

There is still a major gap for advertisers and agencies to crack the media measurement code.

Overall, I think it’s a very positive thing for the industry,” says Justin Kuykendall, CEO of Pulpo Media. “There is still a major gap for advertisers and agencies to crack the media measurement code.”

The international angle makes this a strong play, according to Ludmila Palašìn, associate director of The Media Kitchen. She says, “Since this deal involves only European audience measurement assets, we think this is terrific for our international clients. Cross-media measurement is an ongoing challenge everywhere. This agreement makes us more responsive to our international clients’ cross-media measurement challenges.”

There’s potential synergy in the combination, according to Alex Kalluf, director of intelligence at Figliulo&Partners. Kantar has some strong cross-platform offerings, while comScore rocks in digital. In addition, the two are complementary in international markets. Says Kalluf, “Especially in Latin America, Brazil and China, they will have a stronger offering.”

There is a potential downside to this partnership, Kalluf says: “There’s a lot of overlap between some of the Kantar companies and what comScore does.” If the two decide to roll some of those up into a unified offering, it could lead to fewer options for agencies.

Media execs did not seem concerned about a potential for undue influence by WPP because of its stake in comScore. WPP isn’t about to kill this golden data goose, they said.

“There’s a lot of overlap between some of the Kantar companies and what comScore does.

Captura de pantalla 2014-12-08 a la(s) 18.20.17“WPP is not about to invest in a partnership and then destroy one of the main the reasons the partnership was struck in the first place,” Palašìn says. “If WPP influenced comScore’s research in any way, comScore would lose its primary asset—its reputation for objectivity.”

One thing to watch, according to Kalluf, is whether WPP might tighten comScore’s purse strings. While WPP gives Kantar a lot of independence, he notes, large corporations are more reluctant to spend money. To date, comScore has invested heavily in new products. With WPP keeping an eye on its investment, he says, “ComScore might lose the ability to innovate as fast. Something to watch is how comScore will keep innovating and coming up with new solutions.”

Kuykendall thinks the deal will help companies like Pulpo Media, which, since it was acquired by Entravision last year, includes TV and radio properties as well as digital. “Advertisers are looking to see how different properties work together, and they want to see their investment across all those platforms and how each contributes to the ROI they’re getting.”

Nevertheless, he doesn’t see the Kantar/comScore combo as the ultimate measurement solution. I think one of the reasons WPP is investing in comScore is because it’s a hard problem to solve. Most advertisers and agencies would argue there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Programmatic buying for Time print; Adidas explains how to really align IT and marketing; and SMBs turn to social media marketing while luxury brands are wary.

Time screen shotTime’s print goes programmatic

Time Inc. has jumped on the programmatic bandwagon, allowing advertisers to buy print audience segments in an automated marketplace. The offering comes with post-campaign measurement powered by AdMeasure, and Target, via media agency Haworth, is executing a multi-title print ad campaign.

According to Folio, when advertisers browse Time’s private ad exchange, they now see a “print” tab that leads to the selection of audience segments. Available segments include Women, Men, Lifestyle, Luxury, Business/Finance and Rapid Scale, with audience sizes ranging in size from 5 million to 89 million readers.

Andy Blau, senior vice president and group general manager of ad sales at Time Inc., told Folio that ad sales reps are trained to sell programmatic, too, and they don’t mind if a deal is closed in front of a monitor instead of face-to-face.

Adidas CIO aligns with digital marketing

At Adidas Group, an alliance between tech and marketing let the sports gear manufacturer create a social-media powerhouse for the 2014 World Cup. In an interview with IDG News service, Adidas CIO Jan Brecht outlined the social media strategy, which included a newsroom shared with Google. “We played on every relevant social media platform, certainly not just Facebook and Twitter, but anything we can do to connect, and we didn’t just send messages, but we listened,” he said.

According to Brecht, his IT team acknowledged that it didn’t have the creativity to drive marketing, so the decision was made to fully integrate IT and marketing as the “digital experience team.” IT is even involved in agency selection, as a way to make sure that creative can be successfully and quickly implemented.

photo: Caroline Gagne
photo: Caroline Gagne

Miami digital companies could teach tech about creating a hub

With Miami already a media center, The “Hispanic Hollywood” already knows how to create a healthy ecosystem, media and entertainment executives said at a Miami Finance Forum event. The Miami Herald reports that folks from Cisneros Group, Telemundo, SapientNitro and Imagina USA explained how their community had gathered a critical mass of large and small players to build a thriving local industry.

Now, the city wants to create another hub for technology startups. Maybe – but it will take time. According to the Herald, “Building a tech hub is a long-term play that could take 10 or 20 years, said Bradley Harrison, founder of New York venture capital firm Scout Ventures. He’s bullish though; Scout recently located its first office outside New York in Miami and has made two investments, including one to Rokk3r Labs, a Miami Beach-based co-building company, that was announced at the event.

Social SMBs

Hispanic entrepreneurs are turning to social media to promote their small businesses, according to ABC/Bakersfield. They may start out small, handling their social media presences on their own. But they could turn into a new business source for local and/or regional agencies after that first growth spurt. Meanwhile, Pew Research found that Instagram is more popular with Latino and African American consumers, while Pinterest is more used by whites. However, Facebook still rocks it – seven out of 10 internet users Facebook.

The Guardian: Luxury brands should rethink ROI calculations

There’s a clear trend away from print media for luxury brands, but many top-tier marketers don’t get how to measure ROI. At a panel discussion hosted by The Guardian, marketers were advised to look at return on interaction.

Chris Moody, creative director at brand consultant Wolff Olins, said, “You are building a relationship with people who may continue to use your product for the next 25 years. Those interactions that you have, particularly through social streams that you can get through digital, are super valuable. It would be a shame not to invest in that.”

Click through to the story for many interesting campaign examples, plus more insights.


How Havas’ deal with NewsCred extends to social media and will go around the globe.

photo: Javier Micora
photo: Javier Micora

Every brand wants to do content marketing, and that means every agency has to build this expertise. Dominique Delport, global managing director of Havas Media Group, said in a press release, “2015 is the year of content for Havas.”

If so, Havas is trying to get a jumpstart on it by forging a global partnership with NewsCred. The deal gives Havas and its clients access to more than 5,000 publishers in dozens of languages.

Havas is not the only network expanding its content abilities. Publicis Groupe revealed that it’s in exclusive negotiations to acquire Relaxnews, a press agency that has expanded into consulting, producing and managing digital content.

NewsCred connects content creators and content marketers, providing access to curated content, as well as software that lets brands manage, publish and track it. It contracts with major publishers, as well as freelance content producers, in order to offer licensed content to brands and marketers. Last year, it expanded into Latin America, with licensing agreements with AFP Espanol, Huffington Post Voces and EFE, among others.

Imam Ramani, NewsCred
Imam Ramani, NewsCred

Iman Ramani, NewsCred’s head of agencies across EMEA, explains that there are a lot of elements to content marketing, from managing writers, trafficking content and amplifying it via social media. “We’re here to simplify processes around content marketing and allow brands to scale with licensed content,” he says. “We’ve built an end-to-end content marketing platform that allows brands and agencies to simplify processes and scale with licensed content. They can create their own content but also, every day, supplement that with interesting articles from major publishers. ”

The deal will also integrate NewsCred’s platform with that of Socialyse, the Havas social media agency. Havas operates social newsrooms in London, New York and Paris, and plans to open even more this year.

“We can expand the Socialyse offering, and we believe that’s the main reason we signed this partnership,” Ramani says. The partners are evaluating how to bring together the multiple analytics tools Socialyse has developed with NewsCred analytics in order to make it easier to manage social campaigns.

Those analytics will include data flowing in from the Global Music Data Alliance, a newly announced partnership between record label Universal and Havas Media. Delport told Rolling Stone, “We will have so much data that we can leverage for the purpose of better understanding the consumer and creating better experiences.”

At this point, according to Ramani, most of the international action is in the UK. He’s found that new media, tools and tech take hold first in the United States, followed by the UK, with other regions coming aboard later. But sales conversations are taking place in France, Germany and Spain, he adds. Ramani notes that Brazil holds Facebook’s second largest user base, and NewsCred is talking to a couple of English brands that want to focus on Brazil.

Havas is not the only network expanding its content abilities. Publicis Groupe revealed that it’s in exclusive negotiations to acquire Relaxnews, a press agency that has expanded into consulting, producing and managing digital content.

Relaxnews recently launched a platform that combines data, content and services for brands and media. The agency, in partnership with Agence France Presse, works with more than 200 global clients, including Getty Images, Microsoft and Yahoo. Relaxnews would be aligned with the ZenithOptimedia network, while working with various divisions within Publicis Groupe.

Honda and Orcí remind parents that the CR-V crossover SUV is big enough for their boldest dreams.

honda astronautHonda launched a new campaign, aimed at the Hispanic market, for its 2015 Honda CR-V. The one-minute “Space for Dreams” video encourages parents to let their girl children dream big – and suggests that the spacious interior of its crossover SUV is the perfect place to do that.

“We’re tapping into the conversation about parents allocating time for kids to have daydreams,” says Juan Jose Quintana, creative director at Orcí, Honda’s long-time Hispanic-market agency of record, which is responsible for the campaign. “We’re making them aware they can offer their kids the space and time in the car, while driving [somewhere].”

And if the dream in that spacious car is about outer space, well, that just makes the metaphor even better. The girl in the video daydreams that she’s an astronaut taking off on her first mission.

Andrew Orcí, the agency’s CEO, notes that the target for the campaign was young Hispanic parents with children usually aged two to six. They’re very busy, and spending more time in the car than they might like to, while feeling that they don’t have enough quality time with their children. The creative insight, he says, was “creating a special space inside the vehicle to relate to your children that sometimes is lacking in our busy lives.”

Orcí’s proprietary research shows that young Latinos are optimistic about their future and place a high value on education, hard work and success. On the other hand, they are much more likely than other American youth groups to drop out of school.

The agency’s research also showed that, while the Honda brand had a terrific reputation and awareness among Latinos, that reputation was not extending to the CR-V. And, Orcí says, “Where there was awareness of the CR-V, there was not necessarily the association with the quality that the Honda name usually brings. We wanted to position the CR-V as one of the core Honda models.”

The campaign, which is scheduled to run through the end of April, includes a big emphasis on video pre-roll promotions and native video ads.

astro 3Another interesting aspect of the video is that it features a girl, not a boy, who’s interested in science. Quintana says, “In that community, the parents expect better things from their boys than from the girls. We wanted to break that stereotype — and for this audience, it’s something they don’t see a lot.”

He doesn’t see this approach as risky, however, adding, “At this moment in the Latino experience, it is very appropriate. That conversation is happening everywhere. “

The campaign, which is scheduled to run through the end of April, includes a big emphasis on video pre-roll promotions and native video ads; the agency couldn’t disclose the specific media properties for the ad buy. It will also run with paid amplification on Twitter, using its established @HondaLatino handle, as well as #CRVSueños. Additional ads will run on Facebook and Vine, with all digital and social media buys placed by Orcí .

While this was conceived as a digital campaign, Honda liked the footage so much that it also hopes to create a 30-second TV spot – and carve out a budget to air it. Television placements will be handled by MV42, Mediavest’s multicultural desk, according to Orcí .

Orcí could not provide details, but he says that the agency will use social media to spark discussion among Hispanic consumers on the topic, “What do you aspire to?”

Why not, the stars?

In our new agency profile feature, Susan Kuchinskas writes about Spark’s origin, key clients, its multicultural offering, main decision makers, cool upcoming campaigns and more…Spark’s Elevator pitch? Boutique services with the clout of Starcom Media.

Origin story

Chris BootheThis Chicago-based, full-service media agency is the smallest in the StarcomMediaVest Group, but it aims to be, well, the sparkiest. The company’s genesis was in 1999 as Starlink Worldwide, a media agency aiming to serve independent agencies with a more creative approach. In 2007, it rebranded as Spark Communications, with a digital focus. Chris Boothe, formerly president of Starcom, came aboard in 2012 as the agency’s first CEO.

“We created a model based on the best of both worlds: boutique but backed by a global agency network,” he says. Boothe is emphatic – if a bit vague – about how collaboration with its powerful media parent works, but he notes, “If SMG has a strategic partnership with Univision and SMG, all our clients can benefit from that.”

Spark logoMedia plans are architected and executed by Spark, informed by the agency’s insights as well as those stemming from SMG research partnerships and findings, and they also benefit from the parent’s preferred pricing.
Key Clients: ConAgra, Red Lobster, Kao, Taco Bell

Secret sauce

Spark works with clients large and small. Boothe says, “We work best with clients that are seeking to do things differently and want to develop programs that are content-, data- and analytics-driven; delivering precision targeting and making realtime decisions.” Efficiency and precision come from a scientific approach to campaigns that provides maximum impact with minimal waste – and that’s of interest to every client these days, Boothe says. “All clients now are trying to outsmart versus outspend. You have to have a challenger brand mentality.”

Multiculti beat

Multicultural marketing is built into Spark, which takes the total market approach for all media strategies. That said, Stephen Paez, vice president and director of multicultural, is aggressively going after multicultural accounts, having grown total multiculti revenue by close to 20 percent in his 18-month tenure. Spark Multicultural is part of SMG Multicultural, the nation’s largest multicultural marketing agency. While it has its own internal resources, it also can leverage the resources of SMG MC in the same way that other brands within the parent agency do.

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Media decision-makers

Media plans are architected and executed by Spark, informed by the agency’s insights as well as those stemming from SMG research partnerships and findings, and they also benefit from the parent’s preferred pricing. The lead media planners on client teams make key decisions in collaboration with the client, and they’re responsible for making sure the specific client gets the best pricing, best activations and added value, Boothe says.

Shelby Saville, EVP of digital, oversees close to half of all agency billings. Stephen Paez oversees multicultural media and John Muszynski, chief investment officer, leads all investment, total market, negotiations on behalf of Spark’s clients. 


European Wax Center will launch a campaign with the release of 50 Shades of Grey. The in-cinema TKs place with NationalCinemedia Networks allows ECM to target this movie only, running in 1,500+ theaters across the US. A partnership with Fandango lets Spark serve online ads to women who have purchased 50 Shades of Grey tickets or reviewed the movie.

Cool Campaigns 

Treehive BeehiveTo launch Delta Faucets’ new HappiMess campaign, Spark collaborated with Animal Planet marketing and Discovery Communications ad sales marketing to create multifaceted brand integration centered on a custom, content-driven contest. The partnership in the TV show Treehouse Masters includes custom, on-air vignettes; passive product integration; in-program mentions and bumps; and forefront integration in the show finale.

Digital dimensions include a digital landing page on Animal Planet for contest submissions, co-branded banners on Animal Planet and Discovery Digital Network; a co-branded Rich Media Video Box that features the custom vignettes; co-branded homepage road blocks on Animal Planet and Discovery Digital Network; and a sponsored, “behind-the-build” digital episode.

MontanaA campaign promoting skiing in Montana used location-based mobile ads to reach people in the Midwest who were at ski resorts, top skier airports and other outdoor areas. The idea was to target people in markets where there are lots of skiers but the local skiing is not so good. Spark also geofenced the entire state of Montana to allow the Montana Office of Tourism to track the percentage of people who received a Montana ad and later actually visited the state during the ski season. The estimated $25,000 budget resulted in an incremental lift of 4,752 visitors and an incremental $6.9 million lift in visitor spending — returns of $276 for every ad dollar spent.
[vimeo 105771261 w=500 h=281]

Montana Sparks Tourism with Innovative Geofencing Campaign from SMGSource1 on Vimeo.

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into woodsYouTube and other social media channels could make TV buys less critical, as Millennial consumers move to over-the-top viewing.

Strike Social, a preferred marketing developer for YouTube platforms, took a look at the YouTube presences of three recent blockbusters: Unbroken, Into the Woods and Gambler. It found that, not only did these films garner millions of YouTube views but, more important, a substantial percentage of those views were earned. The company estimates that these studios spent just $345,000 collectively to promote their trailers on YouTube. Strike Social’s platform can pull aggregate spend data, total views and total earned views, as well as separating them.

“The numbers are really impressive,” says Pat McKenna, CEO of Strike Social. During 2014, the top seven studios spent, in aggregate, $36.5 million for TrueView ads to promote film trailers and other assets that were posted to YouTube. Those paid promotions generated 1.9 billion views. According to McKenna, “They paid for 880 million views and got over a billion earned views. That’s more than a one-to-one ratio, which is off the charts.”

As consumers increasingly view over-the-top (OTT) content, could YouTube ads eat into TV and other ad budgets for movie marketing?

Changing views

According to the Motion Picture Association of America’s 2013 Theatrical Market Statistics, the prime movie-going segments are the same segments that are increasingly consuming video online, over the top and on mobile. In its latest report, the two largest groups of frequent moviegoers were 18 to 24 and 25 to 39. In 2013, Latinos made up 17 percent of the population but accounted for 32 percent of frequent moviegoers (that is, folks who went to more than one movie a month. The share of movie-going in the 18- to 24-year-old segment has been trending upward and, in 2013, was at its highest level since the MPAA survey began.

And what do we know about these groups? They over-index for mobile and they are more likely to engage in OTT viewing. According to Nielsen, Americans aged 18 to 24 watched around 2.5 hours of TV a day, a year-over-year decline of more than four hours per week.

Movie studios are on top of the YouTube trend. On the other hand, as of 2013, movie trailers and teaser videos uploaded on YouTube in 2013 had been watched 10 billion times, according to YouTube, which doesn’t have more recent stats.

Combine this demographic shift with the high ROI of promoted YouTube videos, and you might wonder whether TV spending is going to take a hit.

Gilbert Davila
Gilbert Davila

Not so fast, says Gilbert Dávila, president and CEO of Dávila Multicultural Insights. He comes down on the more traditional side, insisting, “In order to reach today’s dynamic consumer, it’s important to use a mix of traditional advertising, digital marketing and social media.” He acknowledges that You Tube and other social media channels can be a great tool to generate awareness for upcoming films and help reach a younger demographic. Nevertheless, he says, “Social channels are only one component of a complete media plan — and TV remains a principal media vehicle to reach a broad audience for most major films.”

However, while movie marketers are clearly on YouTube in a big way, McKenna thinks there’s a much larger opportunity that they’re missing. He thinks it’s partly because busy marketers are doing things as usual, and partly because the media spends look different.

Efficient spends

Compared to the CPMS for AdWords of five to ten cents per thousand, TrueView ads look expensive, McKenna notes. TrueView ads are sold on a cost-per-view basis of five to 10 cents per view, with a guaranteed view. Marketers comparing five-cent CPMs to 10 cents per view may think TrueView is prohibitively expensive. But, McKenna says, “When you look at the efficiencies of the ads, it’s off the charts.”

By dividing the $36.5 million spent by 1.9 billion views, he calculates the actual effective CPV for TrueView ads is 1.9 cents.

The reason for the efficiencies of these ads, he says is, “You pay for a certain number of views, but then, if the content is good, people share it, so you get another view at no cost. The more people share a piece of content, the lower the effective CPV. This works well for the studios because, generally speaking, people like to share movie trailers.”

You pay for a certain number of views, but then, if the content is good, people share it, so you get another view at no cost.

Before the Strike Social analysis, McKenna adds, “Even I didn’t know they were doing that well — and I’m confident that the studios don’t know.”

McKenna thinks the mindset will change as media buyers and movie marketers grok the numbers. “The education process will accelerate here, and studios will have time to take a step back [and reevaluate their methods]. Media agencies are educating the client, too. It’s hard to leave a way that you’ve been doing something for so long,” he says.

Best YouTube practices

McKenna points out that the studios that are most successful at pulling earned views are not only posting trailers; they’re posting snippets from movies, creating character stories online and releasing other bonus content. Disney, he notes, is especially masterful at this, releasing as many as 30 different videos in three to six months of promotion for a film.

Share content, not ads

Dávila shares other best practices for movie marketers: “Share content, not ads,” he says. “For the most part, YouTube users do not want to watch ads; therefore, the best way to reach potential moviegoers through YouTube is through highly creative and engaging videos.”

Each should include an accurate description and a link to a landing page designed to meet campaign goals, for example, the movie’s microsite or Facebook page. Finally, Dávila says, think multiscreen: “When releasing videos, make sure that all content is optimized for mobile viewing.”

The range of Hispanic content, in Spanish and English, continues to expand. But we could do more and differently, many say.

TelemundoAdvertisers, Save the Date for Upfronts

For the Upfront 2015 season, Telemundo and NBC Universo will come out of the gate together with their presentations, on May 12. With all the emphasis in the media on the growth in number and buying power of U.S. Hispanics, will this be a hot one?

univisionUnivision Not on Republican Debate List

On the other hand, the Republican presidential candidate debates will not air on Univision, according to <i>Latin Times</i>. Not surprisingly, the folks at Univision think this is a big mistake. Spokesman José Zamora told the publication, “There is a very simple political reality — Hispanics will decide the 2016 presidential election. No one can match Univision’s reach and ability to inform, provide access and empower Hispanic America. Anyone who wants to reach and engage Hispanics will have to do it through Univision.”

BTW, our friends at Telemundo tell us that they will air these debates.

On the other hand, chairman Reince Priebus told BuzzFeed, “It’s highly questionable whether we’re treated fairly on Univision. You can fight all day long with people, not to say that that wouldn’t continue, but at the same time you still have to get your message out.”

La comunidad rebrands to English

Miami-based la comunidad, recently acquired by SapientNitro, announced it will now be known as “the community”, a move it says better reflects the cultural landscape.According to its press release, “Translating our name to ‘the community’ reinforces our emphasis on culture and not just language or ethnicity,” said Joaquin Mollá, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of the community. “The community is a more accurate reflection of the world we live in today, where cultural distinctions are much less rigid and identity is more fluid than ever.”

flamaUnivision Expands Flama Deal with Hulu

Hulu will add more offerings from Flama to its free and paid platforms. It will carry episodes of beachboy lifeguard comedy Saving Lives, plus all episodes of Taking on America, Drop the Mic with Becky G, Chachi’s Dance to Uforia and The Bodega. Univision launched the digital video network in 2013 to reach Hispennials.


pongaloGlobal Spanish Video Streams

Latin Everywhere, the global, Spanish-language entertainment company, launched a new video content service called Pongalo. According to Deadline Hollywood, Pongalo launched in beta with selections of programming from Venezuelan broadcaster RCTV and Colombia’s Caracol, for a total of 500,000 hours of available video content. Streaming video on websites and within apps is powered by Inmoo, a tech company acquired by Latin Everywhere. New content from Latin Everywhere’s assets and from third-party creators will be added weekly.


Who’s Won Oscar?

For you movie maniacs, ahead of the 2015 Oscars, Latin Post runs down the history of Oscar nominations and wins for Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Hispanic Americans.

Eva Longoria: We Need a Richer Picture

During the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference, Eva Longoria spoke about the continuing need for diversity in U.S. TV programming, while also pointing up the increasingly complex identities of Hispanics in America. Longoria is head of the UnbeliEVAble Entertainment production company and is producing and starring in a new show, Telenovela,for NBC. It’s about a telenovela star who doesn’t speak Spanish. Speaking on the NATPE panel titled “Sharpening the focus: How U.S. networks are engaging the Hispanic audience,” she said it’s important to have not only Latino characters but also Latino writers who can provide a richer picture of Hispanics.

It’s all about the content, baby, as Hispanic characters begin to permeate TV and video. It’s a good thing, because Latino consumers are feeling spendy, especially when it comes to guacamole.


NASCAR Races to Thrill Latinos

NASCAR Productions’ Entertainment and Marketing division has partnered with telenovela star William Levy and Gladys Gonzalez to produce a still-untitled, non-scripted show about Hispanic race-car drivers trying to make it in NASCAR. Deadline Hollywood reports that they plan to pitch the show to networks next month.


Hispanic Consumers in the Mood to Spend

An annual consumer survey by Florida Atlantic University found that the majority in South Florida expects the economy to continue to improve over the next five years. Latinas were most optimistic, while lower-income Hispanics there had gloomier expectations of the economy than Hispanics nation-wide. Meanwhile, on the national level, the Haas Avocado Board is counting on Latinos (and everyone else) to eat mucho aguacate in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. They’re talking 120 million pounds of avocados!

Time to Tackle Twee Millennials

You know how Millennials are so crafty? When they’re not buzzing the neighbors with their home-made drones, they’re crocheting hats to sell on Etsy. To address what Time Inc. calls “the Maker Generation,” the publishing conglomerate combined content aggregated from various pubs with native ad content to create The Snug, according to Folio. Ikea is the exclusive launch partner for the first six months. Time says this is the first of several planned “social hubs.”

Don’t Count Your Hispanics before They Come

Yes, the U.S. Hispanic population still will see healthy growth, but marketers should expect 30 million less of them by 2050 than was expected. The latest U.S. Census Bureau population projections cut the expected growth in Latin immigrants from 91 percent to 57 percent, while more of the population growth will come from Hispanic births in-country. That new growth projection is still healthy as heck – but Pew Research Center points out that societal changes in the United States, such as inter-marriage among ethnicities, could change the nation’s ethnic makeup in ways still to be determined.


KollideTV Wants Latino Viewers to Get Some

The third season of web series from KollideTV includes the Latino comedy Get Some, as well as a mini-documentary series on race in America called Afraid of the Dark. The over-the-top network is serving an extra helping of diversity this season, in line with its motto of “where content meets culture.” In addition to GetSome, which focuses on a Nuyorican couple trying to keep their marriage spicy, the roster of shows includes a second season of the LGBT drama, In Between Men. The network aims to find and develop quality curated original content for African American, Hispanic, Asian and LGBT viewers across online, mobile, social and over-the-top platforms.

rodriguez gg

Golden Globe Win Is for All Hispanics

Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for Best Actress/TV Musical or Comedy for her eponymous role in Jane the Virgin – and her acceptance speech fired up the Latino community as it emphasized how the culture is becoming more mainstream. She said, “This award is so much more than myself … It represents a culture that wants to see itself as heroes,” according to NBC News.

sands-floor-sm As weary ad execs wandered home from CES 2015, we took a look at what this mother of all consumer electronics shows revealed about the future of advertising. We identified five trends that we think will matter for advertisers in the years to come, and checked in with three smart executives to get their thoughts.

1. Connected Watches

They show no sign of going away, with twice as many wearable exhibits as at CES 2014. But ads on them? Really? Probably, according to Jeremy Sigel, director of mobile, North America, for digital agency Essence. “Similar to mainstream mobile ad formats, it is easy to envision a full-screen interstitial ad or even a 15-second video on a smartwatch,” Sigel says. He points out that while a watch face may seem small, the dimensions would be similar to a Facebook mobile newsfeed ad. “While smartwatch ads may start there, the bigger opportunity will be highly contextual push notifications that strive to be additive, and branded applications that are inherently helpful to keep a brand top-of-mind.”


If you think people won’t accept ads on their smartwatches or fitness devices, just remember that in the early days of mobile, people said the same thing about their phones. In fact, some of us, ahem, are old enough to remember when advertising on the World Wide Web was frowned upon.

2. OTT TV:

Dish’s SlingTV streaming service gave another push to over-the-top video, enabling subscribers to watch live TV, video-on-demand and 12 cable channels on a variety of devices. It also could open the way for better targeting and tracking of TV ads. Sling did not immediately respond to an email about its ad plans, but third-party ad networks may start salivating now.

Pat McKenna, CEO of Strike Social, says Sling and other OTT services will help marketers get a more accurate comparison of the performance of video ads on TV and digital. Strike Social is a third-party TrueView advertising, targeting and analytics platform that tracks video-ad performance across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The key to achieving this, according to McKenna, is for OTT services to provide APIs and consistent data to allow ad servers and analytics platforms to consume their data. “The opportunity for us is to marry performance data across all platforms, and then provide the report to [advertisers],” he says.

David Santana, art director at global, digital marketing agency Deep Focus, says that Sling TV’s $20 monthly subscription, no-contract deal will be attractive to Hispanic consumers, who are gravitating to other companies like T-Mobile that don’t demand customers lock themselves in. He says a bigger win will be if Sling TV develops content packages for Hispanics, the way that DirectTV does. (In December DirecTV introduced OTT Video Service Yaveo targeting the Hispanic population.) “The opportunity to tailor content packages to this market is important to see it grow,” Santana concludes.

The opportunity to tailor content packages to this market is important to see it grow.

3. Connected and Autonomous Cars

Internet-connected cars have been around at least since BMW introduced ConnectedDrive in 2011 – and CES 2014 seemed to be the CES of the Car. This year, more than a dozen cars were on display, many of them highlighting current or concept connected-car technology. With Google powering or at least participating in several of these offerings, you have to wonder: Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of driving, you could, um, use Google Search or watch YouTube with prerolls. There’s also a strong –someday – play for ads on the so-called infotainment screens, the ever-larger digital dashboard screens that show everything from what’s playing on the sound system to your navigation route to use Facebook.


How about sending the driver a McDonald’s coupon when she’s approaching the restaurant? Actually, TeleNav has been doing that since 2010. The problem has always been, and continues to be for now, getting enough scale to make it worthwhile for national advertisers to bother. Maybe someday …

Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of driving, you could, um, use Google Search or watch YouTube with prerolls?
Nick Cannon playing virtual volleyball
Nick Cannon playing virtual volleyball

4. Virtual Reality

Volvo, Dos Equis, Marriott, HBO, Tourism Australia and a handful of movie marketers have already released branded apps. VR is cool and fun, but hampered by the need to use a headset. Joining the fray among the expensive and still-in-beta Oculus Rift and the adorably crafty – and cheap – Google Cardboard headsets, Avegant and Samsung demonstrated virtual reality at the show. In the short term, VR marketing will live at trade shows and special events, where staffers can be on hand to manage the hardware and software.

Deep Focus’ Santana gives kudos to Volvo for it’s VR campaign that sent consumers who registered a Google Cardboard viewer kit. “That make it inclusive,” he says. “You don’t need a lot of money or to be in a major market to experience virtual reality. That’s important for the Hispanic community.”

Eventually, Digital Agency Essence’s Sigel thinks, that these virtual-reality “experiences” could contain ad units, in much the same way ads have been inserted into TV broadcasts, as well as into video and console games. He gives the example of a VR experience that lets you sit court-side at an NBA game. “In addition to traditional signage, the t-shirts of patrons, concessions, chants from the crowd, a comment from a court-side celebrity and shouts from players may all be sellable units,” he says.

By tapping into someone’s Fitbit or health-tracking device, could you send him an ad for Starbucks when his energy flags?

5. Big Data Gets Ginormous with Connected-Everything

The Internet of Things was one of CES 2015’s Top Tech Trends, along with wearables and autonomous cars. All these devices will generate data either all the time or a lot of the time. Location-based data combined with behavioral and contextual data could make ad targeting incredibly more complex – and possibly better. The quantified self, continuously tracked by wearables, could alone generate unprecedented amounts of usable personal data. The possibilities – futuristic as they are – are fascinating. By tapping into someone’s Fitbit or health-tracking device, could you send him an ad for Starbucks when his energy flags?  Would his anonymous personal profile include the information that he’s more likely to respond to ads 20 minutes after he’s completed a run? How about a tweet from New Belgium Brewing after that run? Now, that’s the future of advertising.

Source: ShareThis
Source: ShareThis

New studies connect the dots between social and revenue. It’s still a fuzzy picture, but retailers definitely are finding ROI in social media.

Instagram is the latest social network to get serious about analytics. It’s begun rolling out a suite of business tools that it says will help brands measure brand awareness on Instagram through impressions, reach and engagement and show the performance of individual ads within paid campaigns.

It’s a good move, because almost every brand – nine of out 10 – will be on social media this year, according to eMarketer. It’s a crowded space, and there’s now a pretty bewildering assortment of ROI studies – but at least they all show retailers can get ROI from social media.

Many social media shares and pins are aspirational: They know what they want but are not ready to buy so they pin it. If they really wanted to buy it, they’d just buy it.

The conversion rates for social networks differ by the product category, according to Convertro, an attribution-modeling platform acquired by AOL Platforms in May. Its analysis of $1 billion in sales, within 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions during the first quarter of 2014 tracked by Convertro found that YouTube had the highest influence at the top and bottom of the purchase funnel. Twitter, on the other hand, was the strongest influence in the middle of the customer journey.

“YouTube is strong in the front because people often start their exploration with either search or YouTube search. Social media is more of a research ally,” says Jeff Zwelling, CEO of Convertro.

At the same time, social media’s impact on conversion varies widely by the product category, according to Convertro, with the highest impact on food and beverages, followed by apparel and accessories, and then, home furnishings.

Source: Convertro
Source: Convertro

Zwelling thinks that many social media shares and pins are more aspirational: “They know what they want but are not ready to buy so they pin it. If they really wanted to buy it, they’d just buy it.”

That idea is supported by an internal analysis of ShareThis data on consumption and sharing by Hispanic Millennials. It found that, in the style and beauty category, 22 percent of page views were related to coupons and deals, while only 7 percent of the shares were. On the other hand, news and editorial related to the category accounted for 9 percent of all browsing but 26 percent of all sharing.

Source: ShareThis
Source: ShareThis

“People say they want to help people and share useful things, but what they actually share is more about [public image],” says Andy Stevens, vice president of research and strategy for ShareThis. He advises brands in all categories to be aware of these motivations for sharing. “It’s often aspirational — letting people know about yourself in a positive light.”

Where social media misses Hispanics

As we know, Hispanic consumers over index on social and mobile – but the picture is different when it comes to shopping conversions. In a study ShareThis did with Unilever and Mindshare, it found strong differences in the influence of social media on shopping among Hispanics.

This study found they share five times more often than non-Hispanic users, and what they share is 35 percent more likely to be clicked on than content shared by the general population. They’re also twice as likely to purchase the kinds of products they share about compared to non-Hispanic consumers.

But Hispanics are less likely to use Pinterest and Twitter for sharing content, which is a bummer for retailers. According to ShareThis, Pinterest is the top social channel for conversations about shopping.

Hispennials and social shopping

The retail ROI picture may be different when it comes to younger Hispanic consumers. The millennial segment as a whole is the hottest prospects for social shopping, according to another ShareThis study of 58 million American Millennials. They’re twice as likely to purchase a product they’ve shared, while Pinterest is the top social media site overall.

There’s evidence that Hispennials are converging with Millennials when it comes to mobile, social media and shopping. While mobile accounts for only 7 percent of Hispanic consumers’ sharing activity, Hispennials’ mobile sharing is the same as their non-Hispanic counterparts.

Hispanic millennials share on mobile as much as their non-Hispanic counterparts, and use Twitter and Pinterest just as often. The generational similarities also hold true when it comes to what content millennials, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic, consume and share.

Value for retailers

Social media networks like Pinterest offer retailers more sales and plenty of other benefits, according to Pinterest marketing expert Anna Cadiz Bennett, principal of White Glove Social Media: Retailers can collect market intelligence, and multichannel retailers can use Pinterest to find out what shoppers are most interested in and then showcase them in physical stores. It can also raise the brand profile, attract new customers and help with search engine rankings.

Pinterest, especially, lets brands collaborate with consumers, for example, by creating group boards. “When people contribute to your board, someone else is creating content for you,” she says.

While there may not be so many Hispanics on Pinterest right now, Bennett notes that several brands have created content targeting this group. Most of it does focus on Hispanic culture, rather than on specific products, with a strong emphasis on food. Brands can find the most important topics thanks to Pinterest’s search suggestion tool, by starting to type “Hispanic.”

hispanic pinterest search

She also advises her clients to make use of third-party tools. She says, “At the end of the day, your goal is to drive more traffic to your website.” Google Analytics will show whether Pinterest is a source of referral traffic and how much, while analytics services including Piqora can deliver metrics such as total revenue generated from Pinterest, revenue per Pin, etc.


A 2014 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Georgia Institute of Technology found that the most popular Pinterest category by far is food and drink, followed by DIY/crafts and home décor. Says Bennett, “If you’re in those verticals you should be on Pinterest.”

Point and buy

The rise of social media in retail and ecommerce could be tied to an increasingly post-literate, point-and-click society, according to Zwelling. “We are gravitating into a world in which people are more likely to hear and see than to read something,” he says. And, after all, visual sites like Pinterest more closely replicate the in-store experience, where shoppers are led by their eyes.

Meanwhile, social media use grows and new networks proliferate. In its 2013 Social Commerce Breakdown, AddShoppers says that, a sort of combo of Pinterest and Etsy aimed at retailers, is growing phenomenally, tripling its number of shares.

(Wanelo has posted a quote from Urban Outfitters saying its traffic from the site converts four times than any other social network.)

Then, there’s StumbleUpon, the news-sharing site. Understandably, it’s got the lowest conversion rate of any network AddShoppers studied; but it also has the highest average order value, at $238.53.

Says Peter Messmer, vice president of customer success at AddShoppers, “The trend we’re seeing is social network use in general is expanding and it’s not winner takes all.”

Hispanic YouTube stars come out of nowhere … Una chica makes some videos in her bedroom. Two years later, maybe she’s talking to 15 other kids – or maybe she has 7.5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.


The most high-profile of the latter is Bethany Mota, AKA Macbarbie07. Mota began producing “haul” videos in 2009, showing off new purchases. Her first video shows a shy, subdued tween sitting in an under-lit bedroom rambling on about some makeup she bought.

Fast forward to 2014, and Mota is on the cover of Fast Company and launching her own clothing line from Aeropostale, while flying around the world producing kicky videos about style and shopping – oh, and appearing on Dancing with the Stars.

There are plenty of Hispanic video stars, including Rosanne Pansino, Tiffany Garcia and Divino.

There will always be competition in launching new video destinations, but nothing of the scale that YouTube has achieved.

Why one blows up and another doesn’t is somewhat mysterious. For example, in her second-ever video, Mota gives a shout-out to a mentor, Blair Fowler, known on YouTube as juicystar07. Fowler began covering the style and beauty territory earlier than Mota, yet she’s coasted along at around 150,000 views per video. That’s nothing to sneeze at: Any brand would be happy with that many views of its video. But it can’t compare to the 5 to 8 million views Mota typically garners.

Secret weapons

While YouTube provides information and tools for its creators to help them garner more views, some stars have an extra edge in the form of multi-channel networks, or MCNs. This confusing moniker refers to companies that act as talent agencies and ad-sales networks for video bloggers. Many of them also produce custom content for brands featuring the stars in their networks.

MCN Omni Media and Channel Factory recently launched a joint venture called Content Labs to act as a branded content studio. Channel Factory is a native video marketing and YouTube video-ad-buying platform.

Omnia has a stable of video talent, including Hispanic stars Baby Rasta y Gringo, Divino and Garcia’s iHasCupquake. It aims to continue creating custom branded content employing the digital influencers within its MCN. Channel Factory has expertise in the granular targeting of specific audiences and optimizing videos for high clickthrough rates and ROI, according to Tamoor Shafi, CEO of Omnia Media.

target omni promo2
iHasCupquake promo for Target

“Our focus in the past two years has been working with top influencers. Sales and interest from brands has increased exponentially,” Shafi says. For example, it landed a deal with Target for four iHasCupquake episodes in which Garcia decorated dorm rooms.

Omnia helps video bloggers develop their audiences on YouTube and beyond. For example, EME Music, Baby Rasta y Gringo’s label, had only a small presence on YouTube, so Omnia helped it establish a few new channels and launch content, making use of its expertise about best practices on YouTube, such as the best time to upload, how to properly tag content and search engine optimization.

Divino’s channel had only 5,000 subscribers. When he launched two new songs, Omnia helped EME cross-promote them with strategies including targeted ad buys and placements in more popular playlists, as well as driving views through likes and favorites. The campaign bumped his subscriber numbers up to close to 40,000.

MiTú is another of the many MCNs that provide talent development services as well as opportunities for their stars to participate in sponsorship and ad opportunities. It provides them with an internal platform called that lets them check out branded opportunities they might want to participate in, as well as submit their own original content ideas. They can keep abreast of what other channels are doing and what’s working for them.

A lot of Hispanic talent creates content for a global audience.

Says Charlie Echeverry, MiTú’s chief revenue officer, “Analytics means more money and audience for these influencers. Every one of them wants to create new, bigger-budget things that can be upstreamed to other platforms.”


It’s interesting that many of these young online stars are not creating Hispanic-specific content, nor are their fan bases predominantly Hispanic. At the same time, non-Hispanic stars recognize the importance of the Hispanic audience. According to Shafi, Inna has a very large following in Mexico, and Omnia is helping her to optimize her video content to bring in more fans from Latin America. “A lot of Hispanic talent creates content for a global audience,” he says.

Going Over the Top from YouTube?

Next, Omnia Media plans to create branded mobile and web apps for its talent that will be used to deliver their content outside of YouTube. It’s also launched a new ecommerce initiative called to sell merchandise for its talent stable. It will design, produce and sell merchandise for its stars; each star will have a unique URL that he or she can market to their fans.

More and more of these young influencers are, with the help of their MCNs, trying to build a strong brand that’s less dependent on YouTube. That’s partly due to the fragmentation of video and the rising importance of sites including Vimeo, Vine, Twitter and

But it’s also because YouTube takes, in most cases, a 45 percent cut of all ad revenue, although it reportedly is trying to do better in supporting its top stars. YouTube did not respond to several requests for an interview.

Iddo Shah, Kaltura
Iddo Shai, Kaltura

Fueling potential flight from YouTube is a series of acquisitions of MCNs by mainstream entertainment companies. For example, Maker Studios, recently acquired by Disney, likely hopes to move as much of its audience as it can off YouTube and onto, according to Iddo Shai, director of product marketing for Kaltura, an end-to-end, over-the-top video platform.

He points out that right now, it’s difficult for advertisers to do integrated campaigns that include YouTubers’ videos and other media, as well as to create the innovative campaigns that marketers crave.

“On YouTube at this time, that is very hard to do. There are some changes on YouTube, and maybe they will become more flexible in what they especially allow the upper talent to do. But they will never give full access — and rightfully so. They are a strong platform and want to control much of the revenue and the content,” Shai says.

But the MCNs are becoming strong in their own right. They have to race with YouTube to reserve advertising on their stars’ videos. Whoever reserves first gets the inventory, making it harder to plan and execute the larger campaigns that MCNs are increasingly angling for.

Omni’s contracts with talent usually include obtaining exclusive rights to selling their YouTube inventory – except, of course, for YouTube, which also can sell it. Some contracts include the exclusive right to sell brand content on their channels. While Omnia competes with YouTube to sell its stars regular inventory, Shai points out that there are a lot of cases where the companies collaborate, with YouTube handling the media side and Omnia selling the custom ad products.

Will these rising stars flee YouTube altogether? Not a chance, according to Shai. He says, “There will always be competition in launching new video destinations, but nothing of the scale that YouTube has achieved.”

Other articles on the emerging (Hispanic) online video media and marketing sector: MCNs in Hot Pursuit of Brands and Are Multichannel Networks the Future of TV?

In the second  article on Multichannel Networks (MCNs), Portada Digital Media Correspondent Susan Kuchinskas looks at  how MCNs gather the best of independent video programming, often being distributed via YouTube channels, and then play matchmaker between brands and individual content creators.

Steve Minichini, Assembly
Steve Minichini, Assembly

Agencies have long relied on YouTube for its huge reach. It serves a very specific purpose within the online video advertising realm, according to Steve Minichini, managing partner at  MDC Partners-owned Assembly. “At Assembly, our digital video philosophy centers around a specific approach which blends top-tier video sponsorships coupled with a mix of second- and third-tier video providers to ensure we have the right balance of targeting, reach and efficiency,” Minchini says. Right now, he adds, his agency sees YouTube as a reach play for that second- and third-tier video content.

But the MCNs aim to change that. Multichannel networks are similar to the blog ad networks of yore. They try to gather the best of independent video programming, often being distributed via YouTube channels, and then play matchmaker between brands and individual content creators, while providing varying levels of business development advice to the YouTube celebrities. Brands appreciate MCNs because they enable them to work with one business-minded point of contact.

A “frenemy” called YouTube

MCNs are looking to expand beyond the YouTube platform for a couple of reasons. First, they hope to increase profits. Google takes a reported 45 percent cut of YouTube ad revenue, although individual creators or networks may negotiate better deals. Second, there’s not enough flexibility in YouTube’s ad formats.

Today’s online video stars have huge audiences that definitely would watch a few prerolls to get the content.

Today’s online video stars have huge audiences that definitely would watch a few prerolls to get the content, says Iddo Shai, director of product marketing for Kaltura, a new end-to-end, over-the-top video platform that provides monetization, social interaction and personalization. “So the online inventory is actually very significant. On YouTube at this time, prerolls are very hard to do.” He notes that YouTube has been making some changes in order to become more flexible in what they allow the upper tiers of talent to do. “But they will never give full access — and rightfully so. They are a strong platform and want to control much of the revenue and the content,” Shai says.

xyrtec casa linda MiTuNow, MCNs are pitching custom, branded content deals, product placements, spokespeople – you name it – for the producers in their stables. New Buzz TV CEO Nicholas Buzzell points out that online distribution platforms enable things like clicking through a video ad to buy a product or download a coupon.

MiTú, an MCN targeting the Hispanic and Latin American realm,  has created a sizzle reel pitching branded entertainment, original content, programming by MiTú’s top influencers, and “influencer clip seeding.” As an example of branded content, a demonstration of flower arranging on the YouTube channel Casa Linda is sponsored by allergy medicine brand Zyrtec and includes a shot of the product on-set.

You can’t buy a YouTube channel, but you can buy the networks that manage them.

Acquisition targets

There’s also huge demand for MCNs on the part of established entertainment companies. You can’t buy a YouTube channel, but you can buy the networks that manage them. The same week that New Buzz launched, AT&T and The Chernin Group announced that their subsidiary, Otter Media, would buy Fullscreen, the not-quite-four-year-old MCN that manages more than 50,000 content creators with a collective range of 450 million subscribers and 4 billion monthly views. The Chernin Group also has invested in MiTú. Last year, Dreamworks bought AwesomenessTV, and earlier this year, Disney acquired Maker Studios, while Warner Bros. made a strategic investment in Machinima.

These companies are buying access to eyeballs and talent, according to Shai – at least for now. Down the road, he thinks Disney et alia could take an MCN star’s shtick and spin it off into a TV series or feature film. He says, “Once you’re in business with a guy who has 30 million followers, you can really do something with it.”

Amy Pham of Maker
Amy Pham of Maker

It remains to be seen, he adds, how the very independent YouTube sensations will take to working with a control-freaking behemoth like Disney. “This different breed of talent who are used to doing whatever they want to do, and turning down a deal if they don’t feel it’s right for them … how will they fit into a huge entity like Disney?”

Multichannel networks are similar to the blog ad networks of yore. They try to gather the best of independent video programming, often being distributed via YouTube channels, and then play matchmaker between brands and individual content creators.

That’s where the MCNs can prove that those multi-million-dollar acquisitions were worthwhile. Meanwhile, Shai thinks the MCNs will try to build their own brands away from YouTube. While video personalities have a fair number of what he calls “soft fans” who probably only would watch on YouTube, there’s definitely a significant chunk of those 30 or whatever millions of fans who will pay to get more access to their favorite talent. He thinks Maker will slowly but surely start to promote its own brand, build some apps and eventually have its own channel on Roku or other connected TV platforms. Shai says, “They will definitely have a strong enough distribution platform that they fully control, keep all the ad revenue and can do sponsorships. They can do more than what YouTube gives them.”

In a world where cable and the web are fragmented, we would become a tile in this digital universe.

This is the vision that Buzzell of NBTV Studios shares. He says, “The MCN model we’re seeing today is the first iteration of what this space will become.” Ultimately, he sees New Buzz being an equal player with NBC or Fox and accessible from any device. He says, “In a world where cable and the web are fragmented, we would become a tile in this digital universe.”

This is the second of two articles exploring how Multichannel Networks (MCNs) work and their role in the emerging online video ecosystem. The first article is “Are Multichannel Networks the future of TV?”

A recap of major news on the marketing and media front from around the web compiled by Portada Digital Media Correspondent Susan Kuchinskas.

kfcKFC: Something in the Bucket for Everyone

A new TV campaign from the fast-chicken restaurateur makes visually explicit the notion that Hispanics are far from homogenous – even if family dinners are important to most. The KFC spot aims to deliver a one-size-does-not-fit-all message, according to Restaurant News. It’s extra-smart to acknowledge that even within a single family there may exist many different cultures and even ethnicities. The campaign is by Creative Alliance, the agency of record for KFC’s Hispanic network.

Total Market, Holistic or Multiculti: Success Stories from the Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News Hispanic TV Summit

Multichannel News provided a deep dive into the discussions and presentations at the Summit. Presenters remain divided about the need for multicultural agencies or agency desks, as well as whether the total market approach works. But there were plenty of success stories, from the NBA’s efforts to attract Hispanics to Sony’s use of Facebook to test creative and languages used to reach this audience.

No One Size for All Hispennials

This whole millennial thing has gotten out of hand. To hear some marketers tell it, they’re all the same: free-spending, constantly texting, socially progressive — and they looove those brands. As part of Advertising Week’s “Debunking the Millennial Myth” program, two execs from national marketing firm Pinta, Mike Valdes-Fauli and Joe Gutierrez, told the audience that Hispennials are more like Hispanics than millennials.

“Hispanic millennials also openly embrace pop culture and yet understand that associating with Hispanic roots is important, particularly when addressing one’s country of origin. Sixty-seven percent want to stand out and be recognized as Latino,” according to the Latin Post’s writeup.

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