AHAA 2013: Sorrell Sends ‘Em Tweeting As Conference Starts With A Splash

“If everyone understood it, it wouldn’t be an opportunity.”


Those words, said about the U.S. Hispanic market by WPP Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, were tweeted Monday by dozens of attendees at the start of the annual ahaa conference in Miami Beach, Fla.

The event, billed Thinking Under The Influence, kicked off with a keynote address from Sorrell in which growth from Latin America was singled out as the driver of global growth for WPP, which has grown in the last decade to become the goliath of the advertising world.


“This is the decade of Latin America,” noted Sorrell, who called WPP’s activity in the region the most vibrant part of the company’s business—despite challenges in Brazil associated with current President Dilma Rousseff. Specifically, Sorrell noted that the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will propel activities in Brazil.


The confab, held in conjunction with FIAP and Circulo Creativo, also featured a first-day session on the blurring lines between Hispanic and mainstream creative and messaging from draftFCB director of strategic planning Ken Muench and Lopez Negrete Communications head Alex Lopez Negrete. Starting their sessions with simulated tequila shots, Muench noted that “we’re coming to an interesting merge point” on acculturation and Hispanicity. He added that multicultural influences account for nearly a third of all new words added to American English dictionaries, and that the multicultural population is setting “a cultural tone for this country.”


Alex Lopez Negrete added that two new things have been seen by Hispanic advertising agencies such as his in recent years. First is the number of channels available for marketers to reach the totality of the U.S. Hispanic market. Second is the client’s appetite for reaching the Hispanic market, which is more voracious than ever.


Lopez Negrete also took time to defend the independent Hispanic advertising agency, saying that such an entity has “far more freedom to do what is necessary and do what needs to be done” to properly evolve and best serve its clients’ multicultural marketing needs. A wholly owned general-market agency, on the contrary, cannot properly devote the right amount of resources to accomplish this task, he believes.


In a “CMO Chat” focused on his company’s delivery platforms and content choices, DishLATINO VP Alfredo Rodriguez noted that its lowest-ever churn for Hispanic consumers was seen in 2012 and that 10% of its 50 million subscribers are Hispanic. The percentage is growing, Rodriguez says, as 17% of total activations last year were from Hispanic customers.


A second CMO Chat put beer brand Tecate in the spotlight, as Heineken USA VP/Marketing Felix Palau got attendees talking about the company’s shift to creative that was humorous, slightly irreverent—and created in Mexico, rather than by a U.S. Hispanic shop. Palau also admitted that its limited marketing budget led the brand to focus much of its national efforts on Spanish-language network television but that local efforts allowed the brand to target English-speaking consumers, with spot television, radio, and digital in the mix.


A look at marketing campaigns from P&G and Hispanic agency of record Conill for Tide and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese as part of ahaa’s partnership with Effie Worldwide concluded the day’s sessions, while the night culminated with well-attended cocktail receptions sponsored by Vme, Digilant, and the IAB.


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