Annika Blockstrand is Regional Media Director for Latin America at Mondelez International and has assured Portada that they are “moving towards the digital world.” Mondelez brings together well-known global and local snacks brands. In 2012, they reached an US $ 35 billion revenue. Regarding revenue percentage, Latin America accounted for 15% that year. Among its “billion dollar brands” are: Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka chocolate, Jacobs coffee, LU, Nabisco, Oreo, Tang and Trident.
In an exclusive interview with Portada, Blockstrand, one of the speakers at our upcoming LatAm Summit, June 3 and 4 in Miami,speaks about Mondelez´s challenges in Latin America, a region where digital media’s usage is reaching new heights. Blockstrand notes that she is putting a lot of effort in “evangelizing” Mondelez brand marketers in many Latin American local markets about the “new media era we are living in.”
Her role at Mondelez is a newly created position, which clearly shows Mondelez´s commitment to the region and the “digitization” of their brands.
Currently, in Latin America Mondelez on average allocates between 8% and 9% of it’s overall media budget to digital media. “There are more developed countries in the region and others further behind, and so the average percentage of digital media ad spending in the region is not what one may want. In some countries brands reach 4% of digital investment, and in others they reach 23% or 25%,”Blockstrand tells Portada.
The executive claims that brands like Oreo and Trident are helping to boost the overall increase in digital media budgets. Blockstrand notes that the 4 Latin American countries taking the lead in this regard are Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, but other countries such as the Dominican Republic also have a significant digital media budgets in relation to market size.
Portada: Mondelez International Executives in the US recently noted that their goal is for digital media to reach 50% or more of the overall media budget by 2016. What is the goal in LatAm?
Annika Blockstrand: “We need to understand that countries are not all equal. The U.S. market is very different compared to Latin America. We are effectively working on the road leading to digitization, but I doubt that we will be able to double the budget like it will happen in the U.S. In Latam, we already know we are behind these standards, but we’re making short and safe steps, as we want to reach 15% investment in digital budget this year.
We are effectively working on the road leading to digitization, but I doubt that we will be able to double the budget like it will happen in the U.S.
Portada: In Latin America, TV remains by far the largest media, how do you picture the media mix for Mondelez brands going forward?
Annika Blockstrand: “In Latam, TV is still definitely the media of choice and what we are handling is how to interact with the different screens, not just TV, but mobile, social media, etc., and obtaining greater optimization and reach.
Lots of people watch TV, but there are also many who do not. Therefore, the only way to reach those who don’t is being in digital platforms. What we are seeking is rather the point of interaction between these screens, how they interact and also how people interact with them.”
In Latam, TV is still definitely the media of choice and what we are handling is how to interact with the different screens, not just TV, but mobile, social media, etc.
Portada: How do you pland and buy media?
Annika Blockstrand: “The investment is planned by country and brand. Obviously, there are global, regional and local leaders. Each country has its own budget and decides how to invest based on global guidelines. For this we work with our media agency MediaVest.
Investment is a local matter.
We consider Media, rather than a means, a point of contact with the consumer. We want to be where the consumer is, and this does not necessarily imply having more budget, but to invest more effectively.
Formerly, the media plan was very linear, and nowadays it is not. It is about adapting and moving towards the digital world and connecting with the consumer beyond simple message transmission. The digital world is very wide so we will have to show brand marketers how to use digital media. We often ask why they want to have a million social media fans and they often do not know the answer. We are working on this, so a fan´s value is known, what he/she is useful for etc. This helps us to think more strategically about fans. ”
Portada: Caio del Manto, brand planning for LatAm at Mondelez, another speaker at this year Portada LatAm Summit, told us that they work with various digital agencies across the region and that they are looking to consolidate the work for digital media. How will that be? Are you already thinking about calling an agencies contest?
Annika Blockstrand: “Productivity is obviously what we are looking for, at the end of the day the brand is only one; strategy is one, with its local adaptations or local touch, especially on social networks, but the strategy is still one. And by working with so many digital and creative agencies we may be diluting the message. Hence, the idea is to find digital and creative agencies to be in charge of the region. The idea is to join forces to work on the same line. We are analyzing the agency pool. This is quite an extensive job. We also need to revise things carefully to make a diagnosis of our current digital platforms in order to know where to start.”
I doubt that the consolidation of the digital media team will take place in 2014, but it ideally will by 2015.
Portada: Where will the digital media planning center be located?
Annika Blockstrand: “In a globalized world, I do not see why it should be important where the team will be located phisically.”
Portada: Regardingmobile, How do you contemplate this media platform at Mondelez?
Annika Blockstrand: Mobile is a wager for us. While we are not seeing that media work by themselves; TV only, Mobile only, this platform is different. The problem in Latin America is broadband, and that not everyone owns a smart phone. That is the reason why we think of mobile separately from other digital media. Right now, we are thinking about how to reach consumer through text messages, so as to reach everyone.
We are trying to leave digital on one side, and mobile on the other.
Portada: Are you already buying digital media through programmatic trading and RTB in LatAm?
Annika Blockstrand: “The truth is that a small part of the budget is aimed for RTB. Programmatic buying is still quite new and we are testing it.”
2014 World Cup
Portada: What are you planning regarding the World Cup in Brazil in the upcoming months?
Annika Blockstrand: “Are you aware of Oreo´s successful case in the Superbowl? Well, we’re thinking something following that line, something to impact. But we still cannot say much.”