The eighth annual Advertising Week, which the New York media has hailed as “bigger” and “more ambitious” than ever, turns out to be also a bit more diverse than previous years, with more panels and dedicated events to the issue of multicultural marketing.

Advertising Week founder Matt Scheckner speaks at the Advertising Week Leadershp Breakfast Series: Clear Channel during Advertising Week

Univision Communication comes to Advertising Week as sponsor of three events (Will Latinos Elect Our Next President? Culture –the New Creative Brief and the upcoming Leadership Breakfast Thursday morning.)

On the Hispanic front, the week kicked off Monday with a morning panel featuring political consultants Lionel Sosa and Mark Mellman, Univision’s VP of corporate marketing Chiqui Cartagena and Politico’s reporter Ben Smith, who discussed the issue of courting the Latino vote in the 2012 presidential election. The sentiment, overall, was that in order to attract the Hispanic vote, politicians will have to do away with their obsession over the immigration issue. “I am a citizen. I am a voter. I care about immigration, but that’s not all I care about,” said Cartagena.

The panel was moderated by Univision’s Jordan Fabian, who took the opportunity to hype up the network’s latest immersion in the English-language world, with a dedicated Tumblr news site (http://univisionnews.tumblr.com/) and more video and social media content targeting a younger generation of bilingual Latinos.

Lighthouse Company founder and CEO Kathleen Saxton participates in the Fast Company Talent Summit during Advertising Week

Culture…

On Tuesday the conversation shifted to the advertising world with Culture –the New Creative Brief, featuring ad executives from Alma DDB, La comunidad, Ogilvy & Mather and Kraft Foods, who discussed the importance of culturally relevant advertising that must go beyond pure language. “Hispanics chew gum; just like everybody else,” said Antoinette Zel, CEO of La comunidad, before showing a witty Spanish-language commercial her agency did for client Trident, a leading U.S. brand that had never before talked to the Hispanic consumer.

At hand to showcase Hispanic work for client State Farm was Luis Miguel Messianu, the CEO of Miami-based Alma DDB, who introduced himself as “your typical Rumanian Hispanic,” someone who lives in Miami, “which is very close to the U.S.”

Jokes aside, Alma DDB took the opportunity to showcase its latest ad campaign for State Farm, featuring Colombian bombshell Sofía Vergara and telenovela heartthrob Carlos Ponce.

… and Digital Media

Also on Tuesday Amy Janis, Yahoo’s Senior Manager, B2B Strategic Insights and Research, gave a presentation at Yahoo’s offices in Times Square. ”A needs based approach to marketing to Hispanic women online” highlighted that tailoring messages to specific content areas in portals will likely have the most impact for advertisers. “Portals are strong areas of engagement for female consumers – they are tuned-in to what they are looking at and willing to take in a variety of brand/product information”, Janis noted.

Competition

On the topic of general-market vs. Hispanic ad agencies and the so-called multicultural threat, Messianu simply said: “We don’t compete against other agencies we compete against our clients’ competitors.”

Multicultural panels and events will continue throughout the week, concluding Friday with an all-day event organized by Forty-Two Degrees at MediaVest/MediaVest Multicultural. The forum, labeled Multicultural Media Talent Pipeline, is being pitched by the agency as a one day “boot camp” on the media, marketing and advertising business from the perspective of the media agency.

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