Time Warner Cable, one the top 45 advertisers on Hispanic media, spent a little over $25 million in Hispanic media in 2010, per AdAge’s 2010 Hispanic Fact Pack. The nation’s second largest cable provider, in April launched A mi manera, a multi-media brand campaign developed by Castells & Asociados addressing Latinos across all levels of acculturation. TWC’s Senior Director of Corporate Marketing Marisol Martínez recently spoke to Portada about the campaign, and her company’s efforts to help Latinos reach for fame, using the power of social media. An edited transcript follows:

Portada: What’s your job as senior director of  TWC’s corporate target marketing?

Marisol Martínez, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Time Warner: “It is a very integrated effort, where I manage brand advertising, interactive marketing and promotions. This includes email marketing and social media. This year we are fortunate to be expanding our efforts to target the African-American market. So I’ll lead those efforts as well. We’re also putting our planning together to work with the Asian-American segment.
In brief, I oversee all of our corporate efforts towards those segments (Hispanic, African-American and Asian.)”

Given the nature of the cable business, how does TWC work with its regional offices in terms of marketing communications?

“We have a corporate strategy (as a group), but we also have a very strong relationship with our regional offices. For example, we cannot do something targeting Hispanics in New York that is different from what we do at a corporate level. We need to be synergetic and communicate with one voice throughout all our regions. So, we develop an overarching strategy, from a brand standpoint, and then we work with our regions to bring to life programs in a way that they are relevant and unique to a particular consumer in a particular area.”

How would you describe TWC’s marketing to Hispanics today and how has it evolved?

“Like every marketer, you have to constantly evolve your marketing strategy. I think TWC has grown to recognize the power  of the Hispanic market and to recognize that power as it contributes to our business as a whole. So I can tell you we’ve made several inroads of late.”

Can you share some examples?

“Look at our digital platform. We launched our Spanish-language Web site two years ago, giving consumers a very holistic experience. Now they are receiving an e-newsletter in Spanish, an e-mail blast in Spanish and last year we launched our own dedicated Facebook page targeting Hispanics. We’ve made inroads in the digital space, but we also looked at offering more relevant products, like El Paquetazo, which was launched first in L.A. and has since been rolled out into other regions.”

How do you deal with the several levels of acculturation when you plan your Hispanic offering?

“This is part of the way in which we have evolved. Our approach is lifestyle-based, not language-based. I like to say we target this market in-culture rather than in-language.”

And this means…?

“Take yourself, a bilingual person: You are not necessarily going to be talked to only in Spanish or only in English. The campaign we launched a couple of weeks ago, A mi manera, for example, brings to life a slice of life that is relevant to U.S. Hispanics, whether they speak Spanish only or are bilingual. In one of the spots, a little girl is learning to play the piano and her dad, who is in South America, can see her play through the use of our products. The idea is the use of technology in the comfort of your home, a tu manera… the language is something that comes after the insight.”

You say this campaign targets both, Spanish-dominant and acculturated Hispanics. Did you produce the same ads in both languages?

“For the most recent campaign, developed by Castells & Asociados, we have 9 spots; some in Spanish and others in English. Again, it’s not about language but about in-culture communications. We want Hispanics to see the ads (regardless of the language) and say ‘hey, that is my family!’ ‘That guy / girl is experiencing what I’m experiencing’”

How do you work on the media allocation?
We have our Spanish-language ads running on Spanish-language media and the English-language spots are running on TV networks that score high among Hispanics, for example, whether is a show like American Idol, or programs on channel 9 in New York; we basically work with our regions and we are working on recommendations from them.
In some of our key markets like California, Texas and New York City, Hispanics are not only watching Spanish-language TV, so we do an overlay of all these spots against programs that reach this target. Media planning and buying is also done via Castells. We also work with Edelman in public relations outreach and social media efforts.”

Last but not least, tell us about Abel Ullón, the star of one of your ad spots…

“Last year, during Hispanic Heritage Month, we launched a contest called Alcanza la fama (Reach for fame) a sort of Latino version of American Idol, to give Latinos the opportunity to make it in the music industry.

The winner was Abel Ullón, a native of Paraguay who was working as a garbage collector in Kansas City, with a big dream to become a famous singer. Ullón, who is now the star of one of our commercials,  is also featured on a documentary we did to record his journey, which began when he won the contest to us taking him to a tour at the Latin Billboards in Miami (April 27th). Abel was one of five new artists to sing at the Latin Billboards New Artists Showcase  in front of top executives and he did an amazing job! There was this kid, a garbage collector from Paraguay, walking the red carpet alongside Marc Anthony… it was amazing.”

How’s he doing now?
“The whole thing has been so impactful back home, that the vicepresident of Paraguay wants him to go perform! Can you imagine?”

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