What: Portada talked to Victor Cornejo, Director of Multicultural Strategy for Undertone, about his thoughts on the importance of multicultural marketing and what he has accomplished in the past year and a half.
Why it matters: Cornejo has encouraged Undertone and its clients to embrace and prioritize multicultural marketing.

Undertone’s Victor Cornejo

As Director of Multicultural Strategy for Undertone, Victor Cornejo has accomplished much in his year-and-a-half tenure. Helping to build a new team from the ground up, Cornejo has encouraged Undertone and its brand and agency clients to embrace multicultural marketing and prioritize this growing consumer demographic.

“Nothing excites me more than when someone on our team tells me about a client who remarks that everything Undertone is known for is done equally well for multicultural audiences. Our creative and relationships with our publishers are unique in the marketplace and no one in the space can do the same,” said Cornejo.

Portada got a chance to catch up with Victor on what he has been up to, here’s what we found out…

Portada: Can you explain your role at Undertone? What were you brought on to build?

Victor Cornejo: My role as Director of Multicultural Strategy is to ensure that Undertone clients understand that they can leverage the amazing creative work we do to effectively reach multicultural consumers.

 Given the unprecedented growth, this segment represents sustainable growth for all categories and cannot be an afterthought.

Undertone has been a major player in the ad-tech space for over 17 years and had already been doing some multicultural work, however, we’ve now added a dedicated team to focus specifically on reaching multicultural consumers. Today, Hispanic consumers represent 17.6% of the U.S. population and are outpacing all other groups in growth. Given the unprecedented growth, this segment represents sustainable growth for all categories and cannot be an afterthought.

Our specialized team was brought on to support the entire Undertone organization to help bring our clients strategic multicultural solutions, as well as to help establish connections between Undertone and the best multicultural media planners, creative agencies, and clients. We’ve done all of this while also helping our amazing Publisher Development team build the largest premium, brand-safe network in the marketplace.

Portada: How has the role of creativity changed in the past 10 years? How has that informed your role at Undertone?

V.C.: Overall, I feel that creativity has been forced to evolve and adapt to new technologies and social realms while breaking through the increased clutter, noise, and consumer skepticism. In addition, increased pressure exists to prove performance across all channels. It is only getting harder for brands to tell cohesive stories that win the hearts and minds of consumers across all channels.

This challenge is even more difficult in the multicultural space. For example, a first-generation Hispanic could see a brand message in English when visiting their local news channel’s website and then see the same message in Spanish when they visit a Spanish-language website featuring content for Latina moms. As such, brands have to ask themselves questions like, “are we telling this person our story consistently and in the best possible way?” and “does a unique insight exist that could make the communication even more relevant?” That’s why we work collaboratively with our clients to ensure we’re looking at the full opportunity. We maximize our knowledge by leveraging existing client intelligence assets and data while triangulating it to our data and then identifying consumer insights that enable us to optimize creative and messaging.

 It is only getting harder for brands to tell cohesive stories that win the hearts and minds of consumers across all channels.

Portada: How important is it for marketers to understand how to create specific creative executions for a specific platform—rather than a one size fits all approach? How are you educating clients here?

V.C.: It’s extremely important to have a deep understanding of the purpose of each platform and to ensure the right content is being developed and executed for each one. Just like you would never simply cut and paste a design for an out-of-home billboard into a digital ad unit, it can’t be assumed all content works the same across every platform. What does work across all platforms without exception, however, is a strong concept or idea. If the idea is strong enough, a message can be tailored for each platform, including customized versions, which can then be tested and optimized according to performance. That’s the beauty of digital—our consumers will let us know immediately if they like it or not. If a brand is not willing to consider what works best on each platform, money is not being spent wisely. You may not need to be everywhere. Don’t force it.

Portada: Do you believe the advertising industry is doing a good job activating cross-cultural campaigns? Why or why not?

V.C.: Some brands are doing a great job. Specifically, CPG, soft drinks, telecom, and some QSR brands are doing the best jobs at this. You can tell it’s the best because the brands stay true to themselves and are willing to tell their brand story in the most relevant way for each audience. They’re also investing at the appropriate levels, which can sometimes be the biggest challenge. The industry has grown in this sense, but we’re nowhere near where it should be.

Portada: Are there any specific pieces of work that you have done with Undertone recently that were a success in this realm?

You may not need to be everywhere. Don’t force it.

V.C.: We recently completed campaigns for Avocados from Mexico. There’s no doubt that their brand team has been doing an incredible job of building that brand over the last few years. What made our campaigns a success was the ability to work in unison with the creatives at their creative agency, Richards/Lerma, as well as their media agency RO2 media. They provided us with the creative vision and assets and then we took those assets and brought them to life in our proprietary ad units and distributed them across our network. The work was in English and Spanish, and we let the consumer tell us, through their engagement, what they liked. The consumer feedback and insights will be leveraged for the next campaign.

Portada: Where do you see your field heading in the future?

V.C.: Identifying multicultural audiences, quantifying their role in brand growth, and leveraging data around this audience the right way is going to be the future of whom a brand communicates to and how they do it. I firmly believe we’ll see multicultural insights play a more important role at the early stages of campaign and strategy development and all of the work will be better and perform better as a result.  It’s an absolute inevitability. Content becomes great when authentic and real multicultural insights are there from the get-go. Just ask the studios behind Coco or Crazy Rich Asians.

Portada: What are you most looking forward to doing/seeing/hearing at Portada NYC 2018?

To be honest, I’m really looking forward to the conversation between our President Mike Pallad and Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer for GroupM. I believe the issue of transparency and ad fraud are the greatest threats to multicultural campaign’s smaller budgets, so I’m interested in hearing about what one of our media partners is doing to address that and what more could be done.

What: GroupM’s Susan Schiekofer and Undertone’s Michael Pallad will discuss inventory quality and brand safety during the Portada New York keynote interview.
Why it matters: Needless to say, inventory quality and brand safety are hot topics in the era of fake news and ad fraud.

Everyone has heard the phrase “Safety first” in more than one context. In marketing, the fragmentation of the digital ecosystem has increasingly demanded improved safety measures. Ad fraud and poor inventory quality compromise ad dollars and performance. Serious issues around this topic clearly demand that the industry comes up with serious solutions.

As Steve Wing, managing director UK & Nordics at Rubicon Project explains, poor ad placement is one of the fears pertaining to every brand: “no one wants to appear next to inappropriate content or fake news,” he writes. “In a programmatic world where advertising transactions occur in milliseconds, protecting brand safety requires vigilance across the media supply chain.” And just as he concludes, the only solution is to create our own online protection systems.

Getting An Expert’s Opinion Tends to Help

In the morning of September 25, Portada New York attendees will get the opportunity to listen to Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer at GroupM. Her experience spans several decades, and now she is responsible for digital trading and implementation at one of the largest media agencies in the world, where her focus is purely on the brands.

She will share her knowledge about trading best practices and possible solutions to brand safety problems across all media formats in a keynote interview conducted by Michael Pallad, president of Undertone. Michael, who formerly filled the director of sales role at Apple Music, joined Undertone as the company’s chief revenue officer in 2015. The now president of the company said he joinedUndertone because its beliefs about what high-impact advertising means were aligned with his own. Today, he is responsible for all aspects of Undertone’s revenue efforts, including sales and service, operations and marketing.

Questions about inventory quality and brand safety will revolve around how digital advertising and policies need to change in the fake-news-proliferation era. Pallad and Schiekofer will discuss how to improve transparency and fight ad fraud. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it.


For an opportunity to be a part of their conversation and hear valuable insights that will help you tackle the future, click on the banner below and get tickets before prices go up on September 7.

A summary of the most exciting recent news in advertising technology in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

By Gretchen Gardner

U.S./U.S.-Hispanic Markets

NEW ARRIVALS: Cross-screen data management platform (DMP) Lotame announced the appointment of Mike Woosley as Chief Operating Officer. Woosley has more than 15 years of experience in the tech industry, having served as the CFO of Advertising.com from its beginning until it was sold to Time Warner in 2004, and has plans to help the company expand its international presence and increase sales.

PERION BUYS UNDERTONE. Israeli marketing software company Perion Network Ltd. has acquired American digital advertising company Undertone for US $180 million. Undertone creates digital advertising solutions for brands, and will give Perion, which has focused on partnering with software companies to driving traffic to search engines, a bigger bite of the U.S. digital advertising market. Undertone earlier this year announced the acquisition of argentinian start-up Sparkflow,

UdiseaUNIVISION BRINGS SPANISH-SPEAKING INFLUENCERS TO MILLENIALS: On Wednesday December 2, Univision Digital, the digital division of Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), announced the launch of “Udisea,” a digital video platform catering to multicultural, Spanish-speaking millennials. It is already accessible through Univision.com a YouTube channel. Content will also be broadcasted on social media channels. The content will include short videos and original web series featuring Hispanic and Latin American influencers.

HISPANICS TO ROCK THE VOTE IN 2016: Recode.net put together a fascinating report on the vital role that Hispanic voters will play in the 2016 elections because of their significant digital video and mobile consumption. There are 58 million Hispanics in the US, and while that number rises, it is expected that they will make up 10 percent of the vote in 2016. A Nielsen report reported that Latinos account for an average of 10 million mobile video views per month. And the average Latino spends eight hours every month watching online video — 90 minutes longer than the U.S. average. So what will campaigns do? Reach out via data-driven, programmatic advertising, and anti-ad blocking to reach be sure their messages reach this key demographic.

GRAVITY4 GOES MORE GLOBAL High-frequency marketing cloud Gravity4 has acquired a 93.7% ownership stake in Pixels, an acclaimed multi-screen advertising technology company from Hong Kong, helping Gravity4 enter the coveted South East Asia and Hong Kong markets.  

MADAME PRESIDENT: U.S. Hispanic agency LatinWorks is promoting Christy Kranik to President-CCO after the  departure of Sergio Alcocer. Kranik will have big shoes to fill, but as she was already in charge of account management, media and new business, taking on the creative and planning departments should be a natural fit.

SPANISH SELLS: According to a study by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, Spanish-language advertisements contribute more to the growth of the automotive sector than English-language ads. Less money needed to be spent on Hispanic media than English media to achieve the same growth in total market annual revenue.

LatAm Markets

APPNEXUS EXPANDS LATAM RELATIONSHIP WITH MICROSOFT: Microsoft has announced that it will be increasing its use of AppNexus‘ publisher suite for programmed ads, expanding from 39 to 58 global markets including many Latin American countries. AppNexus bought Real Media Latin America as a part of that effort in June of this year. With the announcement, AppNexus becomes Microsoft’s technology and programmatic sales partner in Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,  Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam. AppNexus will exclusively represent and be the ad tech platform (programmatic) for Microsoft display and Microsoft app-based ad inventory on MSN, Outlook, Skype, and Xbox, as well as third-party Windows, Windows phone, and Xbox apps inventory within these markets.Additionally, AppNexus will work with local sales units to direct Microsoft ad inventory in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru. In July, Microsoft Advertising announced that it will outsource its advertising sales to Verizon/AOL in most major global markets, including Brazil, and use direct sales and AppNexus in Spanish-speaking Latin America. The latest announcement expands the amount of Latin American countries where AppNexus will be selling programmatically. Portada has also heard that the panregional direct sales team out of Fort Lauderdale will be mostly dismantled.

, a Colombian startup that connects brands with relevant influencers for digital advertising campaigns, has received $2.5 million from investors led by Cisneros Interactive and Velum Ventures to expand operations in Brazil and the United States. Fluvip was launched in 2013 with an initial investment of $50,000, which implies that they’ve made quite a bit of headway in just two years…

SPEAKING OF HEADWAY: Latin American media headwayprogrammatic platform Headway Digital celebrated its fifth anniversary in Buenos Aires last week. The company, which exclusively represents MediaMath in Spanish-speaking Latin America,  was the first of its kind in the region, and has now developed its own technology, operations in 14 countries and taken on more than 120 employees from 25 different countries. Congratulations!

LATAM EARLY ADOPTERS PAY OFF: Cisneros Interactive mobile ad company Adsmovil released information indicating that their programmatic advertising, which they began offering in July, accounts for 8% of the company’s revenue in Latin America. Alberto “Banano” Pardo, CEO, attributed much of this to Brazil and Mexico, which are early tech adopters. 

MORE SALES IN BRAZIL: The world’s second-largest advertising company, Omnicom Group Inc, will pay one billion reais ($270 million) for its DDB Group to buy Brazil’s Grupo ABC, which provides branding services and content in its home country.


What: Programmatic Ad-Network  Undertone, is acquiring the Argentinian  Sparkflow, an all-in-one platform for cross-screen rich media advertising.
Why it matters: The acquisition deepens rich cross-screen format capabilities for Undertone, enabling faster development and implementation of innovative, proprietary formats.  Undertone will integrate Sparkflow’s data driven creative capabilities into Virtuoso, Undertone’s overall tech stack.

18399b69368a11360a09b05b2baa5366_400x400Undertone, a company that creates digital advertising solutions for brands, has announced the acquisition of argentinian start-up Sparkflow, an all-in-one platform for cross-screen rich media advertising. The deal was on the smaller side, clocking in at “less than $20 million,” Corey Ferengul, CEO of Undertone told Adexchanger.
The transaction accelerates Undertone’s core capability of bringing unique, high impact formats to market and simplifies the process of building cross-screen advertisements, opening up new creative possibilities for marketers and agencies.The acquisition signifies Cygnus Capital, venture capital firm focused on digital economy, first important achievement.

Undertone will integrate Sparkflow’s capabilities into its Virtuoso platform, creating an end-to-end technology stack focused on the creation, data-driven delivery, and analytics of high-impact advertising formats across screens, channels, and devices. Undertone will also use the platform to create new opportunities for publishers, giving them a way to quickly develop and access innovative high value advertising formats. These solutions will be available through both programmatic and traditional digital advertising distribution channels.

Oded Lida, CEO and Founder of Digital Ventures Europe, a company that advised Spark Flow on its expansion from a very early state. tells Portada that this is a very strategic move for Undertone and a big success for the founders of Spark Flow. “They have been able to get to the top league of digital marketing in a very short period of time. The technology they have is cutting edge and Undertone identified Spark Flow as an opportunity a long time ago.”

This is a very strategic move for Undertone.

Sparkflow was founded in 2013 by Sebastián Alberto Miret, Gabriel Sánchez Catena, and Rodrigo Oscar Vazquez, a team of digital marketing and advertising veterans with more than a decade’s experience in the rich media advertising ecosystem.The platform was built for the mobile advertising era using HTML5 and responsive design to deliver formats seamlessly across devices, with unique social, video, and interactive capabilities.

“The Sparkflow platform, with its focus on building high impact, cross-screen advertising formats that are designed to capture consumer attention, is a natural fit for Undertone,” said Undertone CEO Corey Ferengul. “Sparkflow was built as a mobile first platform, which we found very attractive. The platform will empower us to bring sophisticated, groundbreaking advertising formats to market even faster, while giving our clients a seamless way of quickly delivering creative that’s both beautiful and engaging.”

“Undertone has a long history of delivering innovative market-leading ad formats designed to grab attention for brands,” said Gabriel Sánchez Catena, CEO of Sparkflow. “This makes us extremely excited about the acquisition because the Sparkflow platform is the perfect complement to Undertone’s core mission. Sparkflow’s capabilities will support, enhance, and extend Undertone’s capacity to create engaging, feature-rich experiences for brands across top mobile and desktop properties.”

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