One Spanish-language spot in the campaign humorously featured an angry pet hamster named Spooky who berated his owner for forgetting to feed him for two weeks. Now El Spooky has his own show to be aired on MTV Tr3s and Latin America’s newly launched Comedy Central.
“It happened spontaneously,” said Jose Molla, founder and creative director of Miami-based La Comunidad, MTV’s long-time international ad agency. “After the World Cup campaign stopped running, Latin kids started Facebook profiles and blogs under the name Spooky. We saw all this online activity from kids pretending to be Spooky. We got together with MTV and said we have something on our hands that could be bigger than an advertising campaign.”
Bigger than an advertising campaign is exactly the way marketers must think when speaking to the media savvy, Latin digital consumer. For La Communidad, that meant writing 12 5-minute, Spanish-language episodes for El Spooky Show, complete with English subtitles for MTV Tr3s.
“What’s really cool about this is it’s an advertising character that’s become content, and for us it also becomes a business opportunity,” Mr. Molla said. “We’re participating in rights and merchandising opportunities for Spooky.”
Another example of a company thinking outside the campaign box is Old Navy who launched their Spanish-language, online telenovela Estilos Robados (Stolen Styles) last month. Each weekly episode ends with the protagonist, Isabella, having to choose between two outfits. Viewers text in their votes to decide which one she’ll choose.
Each online episode ends with the words “In the style of Old Navy, produced by Telemundo.” In addition to Isabella’s outfits, a variety of other Old Navy clothes are pictured at the end of each episode, with price tags and a 25% discount coupon, although shoppers can’t click to buy and have to go to the store. Fashion-loving Isabella’s whole wardrobe is from Old Navy, but the retailer isn’t mentioned in the script.
“And there are no scenes in an Old Navy store,” Ms. Yeh said.
Not mentioning the brand and not shooting in the store may be scary for some marketers, but those who are going to remain relevant to media savvy shoppers know they have to entertain in order to maintain attention.
As the digital world becomes the primary source for information and entertainment, and Latinos continue to define the digital American Family, marketers would do well to explore how they can further redefine what advertising means in the digital age.