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What: The leaders of FIFA and U.S. Soccer Federation met with the President to discuss 2026 World Cup plans.
Why it matters: Though largely ceremonial, the meeting was important in supporting the growth of the sport here.

There may be no more political sport than the global game of football, and there may be no more politicized sport in the United States than American football (@NFL).

This week, the global game reminded us that if it is to keep growing here, having the buy-in of the most important office in the world will be a help.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino and U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccervisited President Donald Trump to talk about plans for bringing the 2026 World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) to North America, a massive global business event that will always need the support of government, no matter who sits in the Oval Office when the Games arrive.

…[F]ootball, the global game, continues to flourish in America, especially among the growing Latino demographic, with much brighter days ahead for the game as it matures in the United States.

“I would definitely like to see that soccer in the U.S. is becoming one of the top sports, not the No. 5,” Infantino told The Washington Post and SI.com on Tuesday. “You have to transform this country into a soccer country … What I want to see is the U.S. league, the U.S. national team, the U.S. youth development structures, boys and girls, being part of the top three in the world.”

The 2026 tournament will be one of unprecedented scale: three host nations, 48 teams, 80 games and 16 venues. So work has to start early, and although Tuesday’s Oval Office event was mostly one of celebration, commemoration and gratitude (Trump’s promises regarding access and visas were key during the buildup to the June vote), there was a bit of logistical and political talk.

A lot of those logistics and commitments require legislation, Cordeiro added. Although Trump won’t be in office in 2026, Cordeiro added, “It’s the signature of the president of the day, and it outlives any individual. It’s the commitment of the country.”

While there was probably little talk of the trade wars waging between Washington and its allies to the north and south these days, it is clear that the business of soccer will need great support to flourish, and the start off stamp of approval to move things along in Washington, a city which has just seen the new home of the D.C. United (@dcunited) (Audi Field) unveiled with great fanfare, is very encouraging as a next step, not just for World Cup, but for MLS and the business of soccer in general.

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There are currently are 17 venues in the USA, three in Canada and three in Mexico in contention to make the final cut. That should be decided by the end of 2020. There will be 60 games in the USA and 10 each in Mexico and Canada. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is the favorite to host the final.

There was certainly no talk of “Take A Knee,” the issue which has polarized American football and the White House, and continues to create issues off the field for the NFL, still the most popular and effective sport in terms of business across America. Despite recent reports of some declining youth numbers, football, the global game, continues to flourish in America, especially among the growing Latino demographic, with much brighter days ahead for the game as it matures in the United States.

While this week’s visit was more ceremonial, it presents a great step forward for all those stakeholders involved in the sport in America, politics kicked aside.

What: GoDiversity, an independent, minority-owned multicultural advertising agency recently announced the release of a Dreamers emoji and social media badge.
Why It Matters: GoDiversity CEO Humberto Freydell argued that while many agencies hesitate to take sides in political debates, in the case of the Dreamers, the issue “transcends politics” and is about “humanity and compassion.”

Last week, Multicultural advertising agency GoDiversity announced the release of a Dreamers emoji and social media badge, created by the agency to show support for the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. affected by the DACA program and DREAM Act, known as “Dreamers.”

The emoji features a character wrapped in an American flag and is part of the agency’s #DreamersWeAreWithYou campaign.

Created in 2012, DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowed people who came to the United States illegally as children to obtain legal work permits and a renewable two-year protection from deportation. The Trump administration rescinded the program in September.

Social Activism in the Era of Trump: Emojis and Hashtags Take On New Meaning

The Trump administration is certainly no stranger to controversy, but the decision to end the DACA program was met with particular anger from those who saw the move as an attack on innocent victims: young men and women who had been brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents.

GoDiversity was not the first business to publicly stand up for Dreamers, but #DreamersWeAreWithYou is unique in that it encourages action through appealing to the universality of one of today’s most powerful communication tools: emojis.

Why an emoji? Humberto Freydell, CEO of GoDiversity, compared emojis to international traffic symbols: “They’re understandable no matter what language you speak.” A product of the digital age, emojis can certainly pack a punch, transmitting more than words and conveying messages that transcend language. “I wanted to find a universally-recognized ‘vehicle’ to carry a message which I think is extremely important, especially in these polarizing times,” Freydell added. “I wanted to find a universally-recognized ‘vehicle’ to carry a message which I think is extremely important, especially in these polarizing times.”

The idea is for the emoji to empower its users in a way that is “easy to use and understand, and non-offensive by its very nature.

Emojis have become useful tools for people that have a hard time finding the words to communicate emotions or messages, and in that sense, Freydell said that he believes that “it could be useful for many people and groups, beginning with any that may be seen as ‘persecuted’ or in need of public support.”

Dreamers Emoji A ‘Call to Action’

For now, the emoji is available for download on the website that the agency put together for this campaign. In addition, visitors to the site will find social media badges and cover photos available for free download. Together, these elements are meant to empower Dreamers and those who support them to not only speak up but also “effect real change” through acts like contacting their local officials.

It doesn’t hurt that GoDiversity knows a thing or two about delivering effective messaging, either: “We are studying other ways we can leverage our expertise in social media and public relations to help raise awareness of this cause,” Freydell said.

‘How Can You Not Take A Stand?’ 

Traditionally, privately owned brands and firms have hesitated to take sides in political controversies. But there’s nothing traditional about the Trump administration, and there is something about the Dreamers that seems to transcend politics.

When asked if he hesitated to speak up about President Trump’s action on DACA, Freydell did not hesitate. “Our first instinct was, how can you not take a stand on an issue as clear-cut as this?” He continued: “It really goes beyond politics; it’s about humanity and compassion.” Freydell added that while there are usually two sides to the issues that divide Americans, “when one comes along where the ‘right’ side seems so clear, it’s like a gift.”

Our first instinct was, how can you not take a stand on an issue as clear-cut as this?

Not all agencies agree with Freydell. But his argument raises an important question: Do agencies that claim to specialize in multicultural marketing have a moral obligation to support populations like the Dreamers? Freydell went as far as to say that agencies’ reactions reveal a great deal about their priorities: “Many of these organizations only see diversity markets as a piece of the overall pie, perhaps even as low-hanging fruit…they are not necessarily interested in supporting, educating or empowering those in these markets.”

While many organizations worry that taking sides could cost them business through alienating clients in “non-diversity” markets, Freydell made it clear that GoDiversity does not share the same fear: “This is in clear contrast to our mission, which is, essentially, to help clients who share our values to reach the multicultural markets in which we do so much of our work.”

Feedback Has Been ‘Positive, Supportive and Encouraging’

Since the release of the emoji last week, feedback has been “positive, supportive and encouraging, both from the media and from the general public,” Freydell claimed. While public statements like this are bound to generate controversy, the strongest reaction, Freydell said, came from a man who objected to the fact that the emoji showed the character wrapped in the American flag.

“We very much respect his opinion,” Freydell clarified, “and would only respond that perhaps we see the flag as more of a symbol of inclusion than he does, whereas he might see it more as something else.”

The just ended first quarter of 2017 was certainly eventful for politics and marketing. 7 essential insights  that impact your multicultural marketing  business. Questions we answer: Is Univision back on track?; Trump’s impact on Hispanic advertising, Are agencies winning multicultural accounts…and more.

1. Is Univision back on track? Well….

Early in January  the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would  allow foreign ownership of Univision to exceed the mandatory 25% ceiling up to 49%.  As a result of the ruling, Televisa increased its stake to 40%. The larger Televisa stake also allows both companies to work closer together and they announced  an expansion of their relationship by unifying both of their content development and production efforts with Isaac Lee becoming Chief Content Officer of both Univision and Televisa. The Televisa deal provides breathing room on the financing side (Univision has a high debt load). But the company is still facing substantial headwinds, excepting perhaps its Univision Deportes unit, in its main business of Spanish-language broadcast ad sales. Are Univision investors including Saban Capital Group, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners going to be able to recover their investment at the US$ 12.5 billion valuation they bought Univision back in 20017? Very unlikely, if we look at Univision’s current growth rate and the current stock market valuations for media companies.

2. Trump’s Impact on Advertising Expenditures Targeting Hispanics…..

donald_trump_8567813820_2No one is going to say this openly, but first quarter sales at most Hispanic broadcast and radio companies have not been great (BTW: Check out how Radio and Broadcast company Entravision is “buying growth” with the recent acquisition of digital advertising company Headway).
President Trump’s comments, and intended new legislation, about immigration and the deporting of undocumented immigrants have substantially increased the uncertainty of that sector of the Hispanic population. Some advertisers that target this Spanish-dominant sector of the Hispanic population have reduced their spend.  Even in the mobile world, we have heard that first quarter activity of Hispanic inventory at mobile exchanges was relatively low.

3….but ObamaCare Lives On and so Does Health Care Marketing to Hispanics…

House majority Speaker Paul Ryan said it two weeks ago after the Trump’s administration healthcare bill defeat: “Obamacare is the law of the land” and will remain so “for the foreseeable future.” This also implies that 2017 (Hispanic) Healthcare marketing will remain in place and health care solution providers like Emblem Health, (check out our interview with CEO Karen Ignani) and others will keep their marketing plans.

We are revealing the  agenda of the ninth annual edition of PortadaLat in Miami on June 7-8, 2017.
Portada has been the leading source of expert analysis on the US multicultural and Latin American marketing and innovation spaces since 2003. For the 9th annual edition of PortadaLat our team is gathering a unique set of key decision  makers and thought leaders in one place to share insights, brainstorm solutions and debate the future of marketing technology, digital platforms, brand marketing and more. Register at early bird ticket (deadline April 14!).

4. …and Agencies Continue to win Multicultural Specific Accounts

While some major CPGs (P&G, Kellogg, General Mills) have been cutting marketing expenditures (and  Hispanic/multicultural has been one of the first line items to be cut), other blue chip companies are putting resources to work to target the Hispanic consumer. E.g. We hear that Atlanta headquartered PM3 just won the Paychex Hispanic account. A major executive at a big four ad holding company also tells us about renewed interest of major companies in the Hispanic market opportunity.

5. High Growth in Native

Photo: Xosé Castro. Under CC Licence.
Photo: Xosé Castro. Under CC Licence.

Native advertising is growing at a high rate and there are more solutions that tap this opportunity from a programmatic and scalable standpoint (e.g. see Headways’s  introduction of a Spanish-language native ad marketplace and Kickads recent launch of a mobile SSP for Spanish-speaking markets.

6. Sports, a Growing Passion Point

Millennial Marketing efforts, often are related to sports content. For instance Kellogg did a deal with the MLS for sports content. Sports championships also have the allure of “appointment viewing” be it over broadcast or streaming and the content be amplified via paid and organic social efforts.  With programmatic dominating the digital display ad space, there is also a shift of more customized efforts using influencers and content marketing services through sponsorship deals.

7. Multicultural Marketing as a Base for Cross-over General Market Efforts (Buchanan’s and Tecate)

1 - J Balvin and Buchanan’s “Es Nuestro Momento Ft. J Balvin” contest“Buchanan Whisky Scotch was focused on the Hispanic market and now they are expanding their targeted consumer base to the overall market. They have defined the blended scotch whisky category, which is declining in size, but they are breaking through because they focused on the Hispanic market,”  a brand marketing executive for a major alcoholic beverage brand  recently told Portada.  Similarly, another alcoholic beverage, Tecate in 2017 is crossing over to the general market and now is one of  the four top brands that beer behemoth Heineken is marketing in the U.S. (Dos Equis, Stromboli Cider and Heineken are the other three). BTW: Don’t forget that Mexican imported beers are the fastest growing category in the U.S. beer market.”

 

What: Multicultural marketers are regrouping (and doing some soul searching) as Donald Trump gets comfortable in the Oval Office.
Why It Matters: Will brands embrace shy away from or embrace controversy in the Trump era? And will Multicultural marketers be able to protect their seat at the table, or will brands shift toward Total Market?

Donald Trump’s victory came as a surprise to many, and especially surprising was the fact that left-leaning Hispanic voters were unable to tip the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. Hispanic marketers, in particular, were left wondering what this meant about the demographic they thought they understood so well. With Trump in the White House, an already fragile industry is entering unexplored territory.

Trump Won. What Now? 

In hindsight, it seems clear that marketers, the media, and the general population alike were too confident that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. And as the shock wears off, we are left wondering why and how it happened, and whether Latino demographics are as predictable as we thought they were.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, brings a supporter up on stage because he liked her sign as Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Latinos did not turn out to vote as many predicted they would, and a higher percentage voted for Trump than most anticipated. His anti-immigration talk was met with resistance, but in a country where a significant percentage of Latinos has been living legally in the country for generations, many did not necessarily feel that Trump was speaking ill of them when he talked about the danger of bad hombres. Others were drawn to him because of his opposition to abortion or a belief that he was less corrupt than Clinton.

Regardless of the true explanation, for marketers, the important question is: How does behavior in the voting booth translate into consumer behavior? Multicultural marketers may need to admit that in this case, they don’t have all the answers. What is certain is that Trump has not become any less controversial since assuming office, and many Americans are demanding to know where their favorite brands stand in such a heated political climate. Brands cannot hide for the next four years.

The fact that Trump won despite his openly aggressive tone toward the country’s largest minority group has many wondering how much Americans have truly embraced diversity. Multicultural marketers must take the lead in guiding brands that want to elevate Multicultural perspectives, but this starts with some soul-searching.

Unease in an Already Fragile Business 

With a president whose rhetoric suggests a rejection of diversity, will brands pump the breaks on including Multicultural themes in their messaging? Speaking to Portada, a marketing professional from a multinational food manufacturing company that preferred not to be named predicted that depending on brands’ shoppers and how traditional they are, many may not wish to attract the attention that comes with political statements.

The insider continued to say that a Trump presidency would reveal brands’ true colors, and “separate the companies that are really serious about Multicultural from the ones that are not.” And many of the brands that embrace Multicultural will keep the tone positive instead of combative, she asserted, aiming for inclusive messages, “while the latter will probably keep some Multicultural in-market activation, but will back away from controversial messages.”

Multicultural is more fragile because its harder to demonstrate success, and there is less precision in metrics and more diseconomies of scale. Any major change in the mindset of brands, companies or the general environment has a greater impact on what we do.

As Multicultural agencies look for answers, one senses a general sense of unease in the industry. Roberto Siewczynski, the SVP and Group President at global marketing company Epsilon, explained that Multicultural “is more fragile because it’s harder to demonstrate success, and there is less precision in metrics and more diseconomies of scale.”

CHECK OUT: Trumped? How the Election could impact Multicultural Marketing

Any major event, including a polemic presidential administration, can affect the attitudes of brands enough to shift budgets towards other market activations and put agencies in a precarious position. Siewczynski continued: “Any major change in the mindset of brands, companies or the general environment has a greater impact on what we do.”

Education, Advocacy Are Essential

But others in the industry seem to be more optimistic, pushing for a continued effort to educate brands and colleagues alike on the importance of speaking to a variety of unique audiences and demographics. The marketing industry has made slow but steady progress in terms of prioritizing Multicultural audiences and themes, and those that have been working in this fragile industry do not want to see any of their work undone.

Suggesting that the industry should take an active role in encouraging brands to invest in Multicultural, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales at Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. Lucia Ballas-Traynor highlighted the importance of continuing education, including a need for policy advocates within the industry, saying, “Our industry needs to get involved.”

The content, images, and rhetoric that our industry promotes must celebrate Latin culture and people and we must continue to educate everyone (and ourselves) on the issues and policies that affect the Latino community before we enter the discussion and take action.

Beyond considering Latinos as consumers, Multicultural professionals need “to be able to speak intelligently about them and to be part of an organization that focuses on advocating for our community.” Ballas-Traynor, who is on the Board at the Hispanic Federation, emphasized that the industry as a whole “must educate itself on the issues and policies that affect the Latino community before we enter the discussion and take action.”

In this sense, even the brands that want to steer clearer of controversy can “contribute to the conversation that Trump’s Presidency and his policies have generated on issues that affect the Latino community such as immigration and border security…in a way that is unified, productive and positive,” Hemisphere Group’s Ballas-Traynor said.

‘Be a Beacon or Go Into the Shadows’

If the Super Bowl was any indication, 2017 will see many brands embrace the opportunity to connect with Multicultural audiences feeling threatened by President Trump’s rhetoric. Companies like Budweiser, Google, Audi, and Airbnb all took clear stances on issues that have become central in President Trump’s first days, like the border wall with Mexico and gender equality.

Brands (and companies) are at crossroads, they have to decide if they want to be a beacon or go into the shadows when it comes to building meaningful and emotional connections with multicultural consumers.

“The Super Bowl was an interesting point in time when you think about what has happened,” Epsilon SVP Siewczynski argued. “Brands (and companies) are at crossroads, they have to decide if they want to be a beacon or go into the shadows when it comes to building meaningful and emotional connections with Multicultural consumers.”

Siewczynski added that we should wait and see how President Trump’s policies actually affect key demographics like Hispanics. In a recent piece, he argued that after Trump’s election, “labor-intensive segments that have large Latino participation” rallied. If Trump follows through on keeping jobs in America, the Hispanic American could end up with more disposable income and greater prosperity.

As Multicultural marketing professionals regroup after this unprecedented election, positivity is a welcome sentiment. And with sheer numbers on their side, Hispanic marketers will play a vital role in protecting Multicultural’s seat at the table.

Health plan providers are among the organizations that will be most impacted by president-elect Trump’s new administration. In addition, healthcare marketing under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), is to a large extent Multicultural and Hispanic marketing. Portada interviewed Karen Ignagni, President and CEO at EmblemHealth, to understand how one of the U.S. largest nonprofit health plan providers evaluates the new situation.

EmblemHealth, with  Karen Ignagni at the helm, is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health plans. It is headquartered in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is a $10 billion company with 3.1 million members. A substantial part of its members are Hispanics living in New York State. This is what Karen Ignagni, President and CEO at EmblemHealth has to say about how healthcare marketing may evolve under the Trump administration.

Portada: What future do you see for the ACA in the new Trump presidency?

Karen Ignagni, President and CEO at EmblemHealth: “What we have seen from discussions over the past weeks is that health policy will likely be at the center of the new administration’s agenda. While it’s still too early to discuss the specific changes that may take place with the ACA, we are prepared to work with thought leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. EmblemHealth has a long history of serving the community with its physician group partner, Advantage Care Physicians. We will bring this unique perspective to the discussions ahead.”

Portada: How does EmblemHealth evaluate the experience of working under the ACA?

K.I.: Clearly, the ACA has made it possible for millions of people to have access to coverage for the first time. As a non-profit health plan serving millions in the tri-state area, our mission at EmblemHealth has been to make healthcare accessible to all of our neighbors. At the end of Open Enrollment last year, almost half a million New Yorkers either selected coverage, or re-enrolled in their current coverage. The number of uninsured is decreasing in New York, just like we’re seeing across the rest of the country. We are continuing to develop new and innovative products that appeal to a wide range of consumers. Whether young, old, healthy, or sick, we want to demonstrate our commitment to providing care that meets the needs of all of our members.”

Clearly, the ACA has made it possible for millions of people to have access to coverage for the first time.

Portada: What feasible alternative to ACA do you envision?

K.I.:  It’s difficult to formulate an alternative without knowing more about where the new administration wants to go. What we do know is that President-elect Trump has already signaled a readiness to keep portions of the law that are popular across the country, including protecting those with pre-conditions as well as children of a certain age who are still living with their parents. As the new administration’s health policy proposals develop, our job as a health plan is to offer thoughts about what needs to be done to ensure they work.”

What we do know is that President-elect Trump has already signaled a readiness to keep portions of the law that are popular across the country.

Portada: How do you see health insurance marketing towards the Hispanic population evolving?

K.I.:“Our responsibility at EmblemHealth is to ensure that individuals and families in the tri-state area have quality healthcare they can afford, regardless of their race, gender, age, or the neighborhood they come from. That means we need to meet people where they are, using the mechanisms – phones, mail and online communications – that they prefer. There is a growing emphasis on culturally appropriate communication and a focus on personalizing communications.”

CHECK OUT: Trumped? How the Election Could Impact Multicultural Marketing