Your message here: ¡a huevo!


In these days of alternative marketing, you see ads pretty much everywhere, but … in an egg?

A marketing company in my native Mexico, Güevomedia, is offering clients a real exposure by putting their message in “millions and millions” of eggs. I don’t know if this really works, but the firm claims the average person will look at an egg up to four or five times before actually buying one. But if this is not convincing enough, consider this: Mexicans are among the world’s highest biggest egg-eaters: the average Mexican household consumes 20.96 eggs per week.

You think it’s crazy? current and past clients include Adidas, MasterCard, Oreos, Sony and Nike.

¡A güevo!

Univision makes Madison Avenue laugh (real hard)


It’s not very often that I find Univision content particularly entertaining or interesting. But a showcase of bilingual Latino stand up comedians this week was a pleasant, refreshing surprise coming from a network that is not particularly known for innovating. During over one hour, five of the nation’s finest Hispanic stand-up comedians brought out the best of their repertoire to mock not only themselves but the whole U.S. Hispanic world as you know it.

But don’t get too excited. Univision has not revamped its prime-time line up or added Spanglish comedy routines to its programming. The show I’m talking about was a live event on Tuesday Sept. 25 as part of Advertising Week, which Univision is partly sponsoring this year. During the “Hispanic Insights Through Comedy” event, media and advertising executives laughed their heads off with the smart remarks of a talented group of Latino entertainers –Andrew Kennedy, Gina Brillon, Eric Nieves, Arnold Acevedo and Bill Santiago.

Besides the obvious sales pitch (here and there the entertainers will praise novelas and other Univision shows) the event did something rarely seen in this growingly PC media environment: make fun of Hispanics and gringos alike, switching easily from English to Spanish and then Spanglish, engaging a presumably smart audience.

I wonder if Univision can take a cue from its own event to replicate it over the air. That would be fun!

Wanna taste of ‘Cane’? Lick this ad

The bloggosphere has been flooded with views and news about CBS’ upcoming drama Cane, which debuts this Tuesday and tells the story of a Cuban-American family that runs a rum and sugar business in South Florida. Think the Sopranos meets Destilando Amor.

Some of the bloggers’ complaints have to do with potential misconceptions about Cuban-Americans (no, not all of them are members of the mob running a fishy business). Others are still fuming at CBS for not making a little effort to find Cuban actors (Jimmy Smits and Rita Moreno are Puerto Rican, damn it!).

Still, my favorite Cane feature is the mojito-flavored print ad the network ran in the Sept. 7 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (above). The flavor strip, designed to taste like a lime mojito sans alcohol, comes in a tamper-resistant packet and pitches the imaginary Duque Rum.

“We are always looking to stretch the boundaries of traditional advertising by finding creative ways to market our prime-time series,” George Schweitzer, president of CBS Marketing Group told the New York Post.

I wonder what an ad for Ugly Betty would taste like…

Campaign lessons from South of the Border

Instead of courting Hispanic voters with unintelligible debates in Spanish (but in English), Presidential hopefuls should learn something from how campaigning is done South of the Border (yeah, we still have a few people down there).

Jorge Ruiz Romero, a candidate to the local assembly in Puebla, is pitching himself as nothing less but a Superhero.

An unprecedented -and may I add, surreal- outdoor ad features Mr. Ruiz Romero on the right and the figure of the superhero on the left, promising seguridad (safety) for the people.

Notice, however, that the superhero has shed its traditional blue suit for a more appropriate combination of green and red (we’re talking PRI here).

Is this creative or what?

Latinas to ‘proudly’ represent their heritage


Wanna see Latinas shine and proudly represent their culture and heritage? Don’t miss the upcoming Miss Caliente, a pageant show designed to “place the strength of Latino women in the spotlight” and now accepting sponsorship opportunities.

I first thought it was some kind of a joke until I went into the site to do some research and found out it is a real pageant to be held Nov. 6-9 in Tucson, Arizona. Among the judges: Enrique Iglesias, Carmen Electra, el Macho Camacho, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez senior and los Lonely Boys.A press release, describes the event as a unique opportunity for Latinas to shine and “to be placed in a positive light, and to proudly represent our culture and heritage.” (Menos mal!)

Lucky winners will get the 2007 title holder (duh!), the Miss Caliente crown, a photo shoot, an undetermined cash prize, a movie contract and… their very own Web site. You go girls!

What are they waiting for?


If the owners of Beaner’s Coffee took 12 years to “realize” the other meaning of the word beaner, I wonder how long it’ll take for these babies to say adiós to their long-standing household name. (Thanks HighJive for the tip)

Not that I take any of this too seriously (I am still cracking up about the beaner’s fiasco) but it would be fun to see who’s next. Stay tuned!

Patriotic pride or product placement?


In these days of blatant product placement, the line between content and advertising is more blurry than ever, but it is still easy to tell the difference between one and the other… until now.

A recent addition to the logo of CNNExpansion Web site, the partnership between Time Inc.-owned Expansion magazine and CNN, is quite confusing: Pasted on top of the site’s name and logo you can see a mariachi hat with the word Mexico written on colorful letters.

To this minute, I’m not sure if the sombrero is there to celebrate Mexico’s Independence month (yeah! we also extend things by the month) or is merely a product placement by the Mexico Tourism Board, whose “Visit Mexico” logo suspiciously boasts the same type and colors.

You never know, marketers seem to be getting sneakier with time.

Who wants to be an illegal alien?


Tired of your typical board game? You might want to try The Illegal Game, an “educational game” that depicts the lives of illegal aliens in New York City.

According to an online retailer The Illegal Game begins as players arrive at JFK airport, get a job and begin a rollercoaster adventure of a life that might include getting mugged on the subway, learning ESL at school, getting fired from a job or even winning the lottery. But it is also paved with danger: players also get arrested and deported, or get sick and die (perhaps caught in the middle of a pipe explosions or sick from eating at a rat-filled fast-food restaurant in the Village). And just like in Texas, it looks like you can buy your stuff with pesos!

But besides all the fun, the game’s creator, Ecuador-born Jorge E. Freire, has a more ambitious goal in mind: “It’s a teaching aid for ESL schools and we hope it influences politicians’ minds as they work on the Immigration Reform Bill,” he told TDMonthly.

We certainly hope so. Though if politicians don’t get aroused by the vicissitudes of illegal aliens, perhaps they will by the scantily-clad mamacita in the pink mini-skirt, or the hat-wearing large-breasted fruit seller.

The Illegal Game is launching Oct. 12 at a price of $30.00 (or about 6 hours table-cleaning in the city). ¡Sí se puede!

Forget Kidman! ‘Vanity Fair’ highlights Slimlandia


Who says Latinos cannot make it in this country?

I just received my October copy of Vanity Fair and was happily surprised by the inclusion (for the first time, mind you) of paisano Carlos Slim in the magazine’s annual power ranking (#11).

For those of you who don’t know this, Mr. Slim is not only the owner of Mexico –he owns our phones, cellphones, banks, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, airports, malls, computer shops, Unesco’s Historic sites etc. etc.– but recently dethroned Bill Gates as the planet’s wealthiest man.

Anyhow, in the aforementioned issue, Vanity Fair quotes an academic referring to Mexico as “Slimlandia,” simply because Slim’s empire of more than 200 companies represents a stunning 7 percent of the nation’s GDP.

Sure, he is no Rupert Murdoch or Steve Jobs –yet– but the Mexican tycoon certainly kicks ass. Want to know who’s still ahead?

1. Rupert Murdoch

2. Steve Jobs

3. Sergey Brin, Larry Page

4. Stephen Schwarzman / Pete Peterson

5. Warren Buffett

6. Bill Clinton

7. Stephen Spielberg

8. Bernard Arnault

9. Michael Bloomberg

10. Bill and Melinda Gates

Latinos brace for a month of piñatas and plantains


I love September! and not because it is one of the most beautiful months weather-wise in New York City, but because it marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, giving way to a wealth of Hispanic-targeted marketing initiatives and thus lots of fun stuff for bloggers to write about.

And while the official celebration hasn’t even started (Hispanic Heritage Month officially runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15) some just couldn’t wait.

Nescafé, for example, kicked off HHM on Sept. 8, with a special outdoor screening of Cantinflas classic El Padrecito in California. In Philadelphia, meanwhile, the local paper Evening Sun is getting ready for a blast this Saturday when it will celebrate its own Fiesta. “An assortment of Hispanic foods will be served, including roast pork, rice, beans, salsa and tortillas. Dominos Pizza will also be available,” the newspaper editors inform us.

Fox News, for its part, is preparing “Noche Buena en September,” its own take of the celebration, with a special appearance of Chef Don Clark, a.k.a. “The Ambassador of Plantains.”

And last but not least, the University of Central Florida this year is expanding its celebration of “Hispanic culture” by including two countries that were not represented last year: Mexico and Spain.

So fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a chock full of marketing fun!

A historic Spanish-language forum… in English


I don’t know you, but I did tune in Univision at 7:00 pm sharp Sunday night for the first presidential debate on Spanish-language television, pitched by the network as the first ever “custom-made” debate for U.S. Hispanics… Those were some challenging 90 minutes!

While the debate was pitched as the first-ever “Spanish-language forum,” the only ones allowed to speak Spanish were the moderators: Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos. The candidates –who wore earpieces to hear an interpreter translate the moderators’ questions– had all agreed to answer only in English (a bummer, really, only for Bill Richardson, who grew up in Mexico City. “Fine by me!” seemed to think the others.)

The rest of us, watching from our living room, were submitted to a real arroz con mango; with the candidates hearing the questions in Spanish, responding in English; the interpreters saying things like “escuela elemental” presumably for “escuela primaria” or “reversar el curso” for “revertir el curso;” the moderators shooshing the candidates in Spanish, and Richardson insisting on speaking Spanish and annoying the hell out of the moderators.

To make matters worse, some reporters covering the debate at the University of Miami complained that the translation devices didn’t quite fit in their ears, and that 90 seconds before the forum began tonight, the Media Room had no sound “not in Spanish, English or French. Nada,” said the Washington Times.

All in all, it made for very good entertainment, though I’m not sure the candidates will be able to beat another promising ratings-buster Sunday night: a special appearance of RBD in Buscando a Timbiriche. Place your bets!

Univision to Richardson: Spanish not spoken here


I remember a time when Univision would ban even the smallest word in English language in favor of a Spanish-only policy. But now, as the network prepares to host this Sunday’s first-of-a-kind debate among Democratic presidential candidates, it has asked the only candidate who is fluent in Spanish to forget about it.

According to an ABC story this morning, Univision is asking Mexico-born Bill Richardson to refrain from showing off his Spanish-language skills. Questions will be asked and answered in English, and then translated into Spanish for Univision’s TV, radio and online platforms. (I wonder if the network has some system in place by which a hand would come out slapping he or she who incurs in a language violation.)

Poor Bill. I guess this was his chance to show Latinos that despite being called Richardson, he actually speaks Spanish, has a Mexican mother and was raised in Mexico City. That would help the governor a great deal as currently six in 10 Latinos never heard of him, according to a USA Today/Gallup June poll.

Hispanic marketing 101: How to order a tequila


Want to become a top sales executive for the nation’s largest Spanish-language TV network but don’t speak Spanish? Worry no more: Univision’s CEO, Joe Uva, has some advice for you.

In an interview yesterday with Advertising Age’s Andrew Hampp, about the appointment of David Lawenda as Univision’s new ad sales chief, Mr. Uva shared with the writer what he thought was one “key phrase” the non-Spanish-speaking executive should know to succeed in his new role: “Un tequila por favor.”

Ay, ay, ay!

How I went from ‘this’ to Forbes billionaires list


Ever wonder how the world’s richest man made his first million? Why his father fled Lebanon and settled in Mexico? What he looked like at age 6?

Well, you can get these -and many more- fun facts on Carlos Slim’s brand new Web page,, a comprehensive site featuring everything you ever wanted to know about the Mexican tycoon, who recently beat Bill Gates as the world’s richest man.

According to the site, one of Slim’s latest philanthropic projects is a program to donate 250,000 laptop computers to Mexican schools and libraries by the end of the year. Perhaps Mr. Slim would want to throw a few extra pennies and have his page translated into English, I mean so most of us can get part of the thrill… (Mr. Slim’s Web page is currently only available in Spanish.)

Oh, and by the way, I wouldn’t mind being considered for the gig.