Florida bloggers to Spain: Zapatero a tus zapatos


It turns out there is a “confederation of blogs” called Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty, and it also turns it has a lot of money … and does not like Spain.

At least that is what comes to light from a recent advertising effort targeting the Spanish government. The reason? According to these bloggers, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is behind an effort to normalize relations between the European Union and Cuba.

The multimedia effort consists of several bus shelters located near the Spanish consulate and the Spanish Cultural Center in the exclusive area of Coral Gables, Florida. And according to the confederation spokesman (yep, it even has a spokesman!) it “marks the first of several coordinated activities aimed at exposing those countries, companies and institutions that aid and abet the Castro regime in oppressing the Cuban people.”

I wonder who these bloggers will target next. Perhaps it will be the 5-member delegation from the U.S. Congress who this week attended a U.S.-Cuba trade fair in Havana and even met with Ricardo Alarcón… Or they might want to get Matt Lauer, the NBC Today anchor, who will broadcast his show live from the island next Tuesday.

And while they’re at it, they might also want to get the French … I’m not sure why, but it seems it’s always popular to be anti-French.

Personally, all I want to know is how I can join a confederation and, more importantly, how I can have my own blog advertised on a bus shelter.

Barbie goes Rebelde

And speaking of dull beauty … the girls from Rebelde yesterday announced the launch of their Barbie-like dolls.


Thanks to Mattel Inc. and Grupo Televisa, the “teens” featured in Rebelde and RBD (the novela and music ensamble) will now be immortalized in the form of three Barbie dolls: Mia, Roberta and Lupita, each dressed in their signature school uniform consisting of a blazer, a tie and a not-very-long denim skirt.

But don’t be fooled by the frivolous image of the ladies. During a brief press conference yesterday in Mexico City, Anaí told attendees the dolls by no means try to portray a specific image of how a girl should look like.

“What really matters is what’s inside,” she said.

Yeah, right!

My favorite Miss Universe moments

Although four Latin Americans made it to the top 10 at this year’s Miss Universe beauty pageant (Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Mexico), the crown finally went to Miss Japan, Riyo Mori, a 20-year-old dancer.

Fortunately for them (not for this blogger) they all did relatively well during the feared question session. There were, however, a few embarrassing moments, and some quotable quotes at last night’s live show from Mexico City:

–Miss USA Rachel Smith slipped and fell to the floor during the evening gown competition. More embarrassing though was the Elvis Presley-like white suit she wore a week before showing her country’s love for rock & roll…

–Telemundo presenter Alfonso “Poncho” de Anda at some point introduced viewers to the representative of “the United States of North America” (los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica) –no need to comment further here…

–And last, but not least, during a special show on Telemundo broadcast prior to the actual event, Miss Venezuela was quoted saying: “Many governments should learn something from all of us […] we were able to spend an entire month together without shooting a single bullet.”

¡The retirees are coming!


Tired of the immigration debate?

Patience, my friends. Very soon, many of those complaining about Mexicans taking over the U.S. will end up altogether moving out … to Mexico!

According to recent estimates by Mexico’s private sector, in less than a decade at least 20 million Americans will be living in Mexico, particularly in warm places such as the so-called Mayan Riviera (which by the way looks much more than the U.S. than Mexico, but that’s off the point.)

In a recent interview with Mexican news service Notimex, Roberto Velázquez García, president of real-estate firm Asesoría en Inversiones y Proyectos de Alta Tecnología, said in 10 years there will be approximately 60 million American retirees, out of which at least 20 million will be living in Mexico.

Only in 2008, 2 million Americans will set up home in Mexico, Velazquez said. “And this is only the beginning.”

I wonder how long it will take for these immigrants to take over the streets of San Miguel de Allende and Cancún, demanding better access to services in their language. (Oops… I forgot they already have that! Try finding a non-English speaker in Cancún or San Miguel).

I can only imagine a world of opportunities for Mexican entrepreneurs targeting American immigrants. Think Spanish Without Borders, tasteless, light, calorie-free beer, law firms specializing in injured Americans (How about 1-800-Margaret?), an all-English-language TV network and radio chain … endless possibilities! Perhaps, this is the work Mexicans have been waiting for to avoid crossing the border.

I’m telling you. It’s just a matter of time.

Latinos like it cold

Marketers are a funny bunch.

In their relentless quest for pushing their brands among consumers, they commission studies, embrace research and conduct opinion polls seeking to find the “ultimate” consumer insight. And nowhere is this more evident –and ridiculous– than in Hispanic marketing.

Take the latest effort by Coor’s. It turns out, says the beer maker, Hispanics beer drinkers value “cold” much more than any other consumer group. The reason? “The majority of Latinos come from countries or were born in areas of the U.S. with warmer temperatures and longer summers,” said the company in a press release.

So, armed with such precious knowledge, Coor’s this week announced the launch of its “cold-activated label” which helps “ensure that every Coors Light bottle provides the cold refreshment that Hispanic consumers crave.” The label features mountains in a Thermochromatic ink that turn blue when the beer has been chilled to about 42 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for ice cold refreshment.

I come from a place that makes some of the world’s best beer, so I only have one thing to say: wouldn’t it be better for Coor’s to focus on making a better product? Leave the chilling-to-perfection task up to us!

Why you should never trust a Mexican

Mexicans tell an average of four lies each day.

That is, in a nutshell, the conclusion of the most recent public opinion poll by Consulta Mitofsky, one of Mexico’s most prominent poll and research companies. The study, aptly named “La mentira cotidiana: una aceptada costumbre” (Our Daily Lie: An Accepted Custom) concludes Mexican men lie 4.2 times each day, while women “only” lie three times each day.

The reason? both men and women said they lie out of “dire need,” “to avoid problems,” or simply “for fun.” Of those who acknowledged telling lies, almost 62% said they lie to their friends; 34.9% to their partners; 33.1% to their colleagues; 24.3% to their bosses and 23.8% to their parents.

The survey, which took place in late January among 1,000 Mexican adults, has a margin of error of 1.8% … but what Mitofsky doesn’t say is: were they telling the truth?

Mexican reading beauty


Ok, my fellow Mexicans might not be 100% happy with the terms of the recently approved immigration bill (or with their overall labor situation in this country for that matter) but they should find some consolation in the fact that paisana Alejandra Espinoza tonight became Univision’s first Nuestra Belleza Latina … whatever that means.

After winning the overwhelming majority of votes from the public, and after a harrowing few weeks, Espinoza last night was crowned during a highly rated show brought to you by Garnier, Ford, Maybelline and Cingular, among other high-profile advertisers.

The last episode, which featured the usual tears and hugs, reminded viewers of the perks earned by the lucky winner: a one-year contract with Univision as an on-air personality as well as $200,000 in cash and prizes. These include a Ford Edge 2007 and $50,000 in cash from AT&T Cingular.

A Tijuana native, Espinoza lives in San Ysidro, California and has mentioned Salma Hayek as one of her role models. We can only wait and see how she will evolve in this tough media environment. I am, for one, giving her the benefit of the doubt, although in a recent interview, when asked what her favorite book was, the beautiful 20-year-old candidly replied: “Any book, really … as long as it has a positive message.”

Oh dear!

Living –and dancing– mejor

Marketing, advertising and PR execs danced their troubles away last night to the rhythm of Latin music ensamble Yerba Buena at Manhattan’s Helen Mills Theatre.

Latin2Latin’s CEO Mindy Figueroa and former Edelman Multicultural chief Rosa Alonso took on the dancing floor showing attendees what dancing is really all about (There is no doubt Puerto Ricans and Cubans know how to shake it! –even if they are top executives in their fields).

The occasion was Unilever’s launch of Vive Mejor, a major digital, print, TV and retail Hispanic marketing program targeting Spanish-dominant women in the U.S.

Cuban celebrity chef Chef Pepín also took on the dancing floor showing attendees that he’s as capable as a dancer as he is as a cook. At hand were some of Unilever’s top marketing executives and members of the multicultural team of Edelman, which is doing PR for the consumer products giant. The party might not have been as high-profile as the ones last week during the TV upfronts but I have never seen so much dancing energy while there was still light outside!

Mun2 takes over the Big Apple


One of my favorite things about New York City is, of course, its diversity.

This morning, while walking back home from my daily pilgrimage to get coffee and papers, I saw my local Halal-food vendor on the corner of 27 and Lexington, and realized -for the first time- that his cart is sporting one of those Telemundo/Mun2 umbrellas. While reaching for my purse to get my camera (I didn’t have it on me) a taxi stopped right by the food cart and, shockingly, I realized it was also sporting a Mun2 logo on top!

I could not help but stop to chat with both gentlemen, the cab driver and the halal-food vendor (I know: I gotta get myself a job). Do you guys know what Mun2 is? I asked. At first, they both looked at me in astonishment, wondering what the hell I was doing there and why I cared about such a thing. They both looked alternatively at the taxi cab and the umbrella and finally said ‘no,’ they really didn’t know what Mun2 was. (The halal-food vendor said the umbrella is real useful during these warm days though).

Oh well, after all, neither the Pakistani cab driver nor the halal-food vendor are among Mun2’s target audience, so I guess the outdoor effort is still good for people who are idle enough like myself to notice it.

Heading to the Big Apple … $9.6 million richer

And speaking of Univision and fancy properties, a few interesting details have emerged about the company’s employment contracts with new, and former, employees, including CFO Andrew Hobson’s relocation to New York City.

A story in last week’s Multichannel News’ Hispanic TV Update refers to a May 10, 2007 SEC filing in which Univision agrees to buy Hobson’s Los Angeles home for $9.6 million.

According to the article, the home is listed in Federal Election Commission campaign contribution records, and though it may not offer the sweeping views of Acapulco, it looks like a nice enough estate: at the Beverly Hills address, there is a six bedroom and nine bathroom residence on a 6,794 square foot plot with a swimming pool and tennis court according to the real estate Web site Zillow.com.

Guantanamo Bay: $4,085 a year

For over 47 years, Fidel Castro has waged a silent protest against the U.S. military by simply not cashing an annual check sent religiously every year by the U.S. Treasury.

Let me explain. According to a story published this week in Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Treasury sends a check for $4,085 every year to the Cuban government to pay for the annual rent of 160 kilometers in Guantanamo Bay. But those checks have not been cashed in 47 years.

In case you were wondering, the U.S. controls Guantanamo Bay since 1903 but what not many people know is that the 103-year-old agreement limits use of the Cuban territory to “coaling and naval purposes only,” neither of which appears to cover the prison or tribunal operations.

Does this mean the current landlord can claim the land back? Mr. Castro might be now too old and tired to use the force and get Guantanamo back, but how about cashing the checks? What to do with almost $200,000? (Nothing much, actually. I guess not even enough for the annual maintenance fee of Saban’s $12 million Las Brisas estate.)

Saban bids adiós to Acapulco

Haim Saban, who this year led a consortium to buy Univision Communications for over $12 billion, is also on a personal quest to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. And while raising money for Clinton’s campaign seems to be on his priority list, he’s shedding some superfluous -if more glamorous- investments. Today, Mr. Saban announced he has put his $12 million estate in Acapulco up for sale.

According to an amusing press release put out today by the real estate company in charge of the sale, Villa Edén is a three-acre gated compound has 12 bedrooms plus five servants’ rooms, 17 bathrooms, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, two pools, five massage rooms and a wine cellar. (Five servant rooms? How many servants can you accommodate in there?)

Villa Edén was previously owned by Time Warner Inc., which used it for years to entertain clients and movie stars. According to the news release, it has housed Mel Gibson, Barbra Streisand and Kevin Costner, among others.

A party with a purpose … for a change!

After a three-day smorgasbord of upfront presentations and alcohol-fueled after parties, Thursday night brought a relief from those frivolous, nearly meaningless, social events: it was the formal launch of Diageo’s Estamos Unidos con un Propósito campaign, now in its second year.

At hand was Univision’s leading lady Cristina Saralegui, who has been appointed the celebrity behind the effort, this year aimed at helping Latinos buy their own home. During a brief but sweet speech in a mix of English and Spanish, Mrs. Saralegui said Diageo has donated $500,000 to the campaign since its inception two years ago.

The good cause at the heart of the event didn’t mean attendees were not treated for a special evening: After all, Diageo is the sponsor of the campaign, which meant there was whiskey and tequila aplenty.

Even Cristina got her own special gift: a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label, with at $199.99 the company calls its “rarest blend.” (Why is it that the people with the big pockets always get the most expensive gifts?)

The rest of the mortals didn’t do bad ourselves, especially Mexicans with a palate for good tequila: Diageo also handles the Don Julio and Cuervo Traditional brands. Alas, not many chismes or juicy gossip to report this time. People seemed too tired and hung-over to misbehave, including this blogger.

A night with beautiful people


Lots of beautiful -and some not-so-beautiful- people gathered last night at the Splashlight Studios in Manhattan for the annual star extravaganza also known as the “People en Español” party.

This blogger had a few too many to remember (or maybe she choses not to remember), the bad and the ugly so let’s highlight some of the good.

-The party could also have been called “The City’s Most Beautiful Bartenders.”

-Jackie, como siempre, looked ravishing! This time in a sexy red dress, and with visibly less pounds than a couple of weeks ago.

-Oswald Mendez introduced this blogger to the “hottest ass in Hispanic advertising” (and It’s not who you think)

-This blogger made it home in one piece (barely) and woke up to some good -and serious- news: According to the latest data from the U.S. Census,the nation’s minority population reached 100.7 million, with Hispanics still the largest group, with 44.3 million.

OK, maybe not all the 44.3 million are beautiful … but algo es algo!

Oh, and by the way; a preliminary agreement was reached among senators from both parties, leaving the doors opened to an immigration reform. Want more? Wolfowitz has finally resigned his post at the World Bank. Such good things happened while we were all too busy partying! (Still waiting on Gonzales, though)

Hispanic TV Upfronts: Chismes Part II

Univision’s upfront presentation this year was a sea of change from last year’s, when tensions with programming partner Grupo Televisa were more than evident.

Unlike last year, this time Televisa offered up its talent for the star-studded celebration –including marketing pop phenomenon Rebelde (What is it with these kids anyway? they cannot even sing!).

Also, we spotted Haim Saban entering and leaving the presentation with Alfonso de Angoitia, Azcarraga’s right hand side man.

However, during a press conference, Univision’s new chief Joe Uva had no comment at a reporter’s question about a pending litigation with Televisa and the upcoming federal jury trial on October 31, which revolves around Univision’s alleged programming license violation. Another contentious topic, online rights, wes also out of bounds: Mr. Uva had no comment.

“Univision executives will not discuss matters related to pending litigations, so if your questions are related to that, please abstain,” was the quick intervention from Univision’s always efficient CMO.