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Social Media Week 2012 – Miami

February 27, 2012

– By Silvina Jover-Cirillo | Social Media Community Manager –

Social Media Week, with its tagline “Empowering Change Through Collaboration,” finally reached Miami this year. After spreading throughout the most important cities around the world the Miami version even included a dedicated “Latin Day,” once again proving the importance of the Latino community in the social media world. We’re pleased to have been part of this entire process!

From mami bloggers to economic-related panels, “Latin Day” at #SMWmiami was as diverse as its participants.

About Bloggers –

Although diverse types of bloggers participated throughout the day in different panels, all of them agreed on certain “etiquette” rules, plain and simple networking tips:

  • When brands and other interested parties approach bloggers, do not refer to them in generic terms through mass emails. Bloggers want people and brands to know both their name and their work. If you aren’t interested in them for their following and expertise, then why even approach them?
  • Bloggers definitely WANT to be approached by agencies in order to reach to brands. For this to be done successfully, read above!
  • There is a lack of visual content in Spanish, such as infographics, available to Latino/a bloggers. Agencies and brands should think about creating this type of content for bloggers to share across the different social media platforms.

About Social TV –

According to Nielsen, the relationship between online buzz and TV ratings can be described as follows:

  1. Four weeks prior to a show: a 9% increase in buzz volume corresponds to a 1% increase in ratings.
  2. Two weeks prior to a mid-season episode: a 14% increase in buzz volume corresponds to a 1% increase in ratings.
  3. Two weeks prior to a show’s finale: a 14% increase in buzz volume corresponds to a 1% increase in ratings.
As explained by the Telemundo social media staff, they surely know how to take advantage of this increasing phenomenon! During the novelas segment, Emmy Award-winning Venezuelan writer, Indira Páez, explained that:
  • Social TV turns the story of a show into part of the conversation and,
  • From a writers’ perspective, social media has changed the way writers put their ideas into paper, to the extent of serving as inspiration when ideas play hard-to-get in their heads.
It was particularly interesting that among all the social media experts participating in this segment, there was total agreement that the Latino community watches novelas in Spanish while they tweet about it in English. A true Fusionistas‘ example!

Throughout the day it was crystal clear that the extent of the influence of social media has not only reached to the entertainment industry, but has also affected local businesses and even non-profit organizations. The challenge: manage these free pseudo-focus groups in such a way that allows them to positively impact their marketing, networking and ultimately their revenues.

Beyond expectations but not a real surprise, “Latin Day” at this event did not only become a trending topic in Miami, but also the highest amount of mentions were registered on this date, ascending to 2,619!

Although it is always nice to witness the power of the Latino community within the social spectrum, the highlight of the day was the advise given by CNN anchor Ismael Cala: “Only tweet when sober.” Happy networking!

Silvina –


Coconut Grove Arts Festival 2012

February 21, 2012

– By Silvina Jover-Cirillo | Social Media Community Manager –

“Eat, breathe & live art” is the motto of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival (CGAF). History has it that the early stages of this now classic event were registered back in 1963, initially being an event showcasing an intimate clothing line as part of the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s production of Irma la Douce. An event that started with a few thousand attendees now registers more than 150,000 during President’s Day weekend.

According to the organizers:

The Coconut Grove Arts Festival® is produced by the Coconut Grove Arts & Festival Historical Association, Inc., a non-profit organization that receives no commission from the sale of artwork. A portion of the proceeds from Festival admissions benefits the Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association, which funds year-round arts programs benefitting a scholarship fund that creates opportunities for Miami-Dade County’s talented students to continue their art education. The Association also maintains the Coconut Grove Arts Festival Gallery I and II, and presents special exhibitions throughout the year. Since its inception in 1963, the Association has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to students who attend fine arts programs.

From classic painters, glass, wood and metal artists, and photographers to culinary delights, the CGAF lived up to its visitors’ expectations; kids and adults equally had something to enjoy during their visit. A tradition that doesn’t seem to disappoint and knows how to keep up with these always evolving times, the CGAF was a totally “social” event: Twitter handle, Facebook page, FourSquare check-in and even its own #CGAF hashtag were -and still are- constantly available for all the social and tech-savvy attendees.

Enjoy some of the weekend’s highlights…

Artist: Lou Michaels | Coconut Grove Arts Festival '12

Artsit: Jana Epstein | Coconut Grove Arts Festival '12

Furnace & Flame

Artist: Larry M. Fox | Coconut Grove Arts Festival '12

Artist: Ted Gall | Coconut Grove Arts Festival '12

Silvina –

(Photos by Silvina Jover-Cirillo)

Having a Ball at the Bowl

February 7, 2012

– By Luis Miguel Messianu | President & Chief Creative Officer –

I have to confess that after all these years in the US I still prefer the other football (“fútbol”), but I do get a huge kick out of the yearly mega show of the Super Bowl. While I still view the game as the lapse of time between two commercial breaks, I recognize that this year the actual game was as engaging as the advertising showcase itself.

We had our share of “eye candy”…

Adriana Lima for the boys and David Beckham for the girls.

You can call it “Asses for the Masses” but some believe the sexy formula still works.

It “rain cats and dogs” and that was also pretty effective. So much so that the top three spots in the USA Today Ad Meter starred our four legged friends. Of the pack my favorite was the Doritos one in which the dog bribes the owner through a clever treat role reversal story. It was your typical case of “death by laughter.”

Madonna’s marketing acrobatics as the Queen of Pop keeps reinventing herself were pretty amazing too. I especially liked the set design of the Half Time show. But the real Half Time show was the Chrysler Clint Eastwood spot! It made me fall in love with advertising copywriting all over again. To me it was the only spot that was truly bigger than life. What an incredible metaphor it is to talk about “America being at Half Time.” Talk about a War Cry! A much needed boost for our nation, and another great celebrity choice very much in line with Chrysler’s DNA. Just like with Eminem, Clint represents the best of the Middle America hard working values. This brilliantly crafted piece is as close as it gets to the all time favorite “1984” Apple spot. It’s an instant classic and who knows if it will ever run again, at least leveraging the context of the game. It’s flexible structure would allow for Eastwood’s forceful voice over to be re-tracked while cut down to either a 60″ or even a 30″, but the metaphor prevails. In my humble opinion, Chrysler and Wieden & Kennedy stole the big show.

This was a whole different ball game!

Luis Miguel –

The “A” Is Just the Beginning…

January 26, 2012

– By Luis Miguel Messianu | President & Chief Creative Officer –

When we re-launched the agency in the Fall of ’07 one of the key elements of the criteria in the search for a new name was to find something that started with the letter A. I figured this would help us in the age of search engine optimization.

When I came up with Alma, I loved the fact that the name stood for something unique and relevant for our craft (means Soul in Spanish). I got a real kick that it started and ended with an A, and if that wasn’t enough, that it had my initials in the middle. I thought it would be a winner! And a lot of peers complimented me on this great find.

A couple of years later our efforts paid off when we made it to the Ad Age A-List, an honor bestowed only to the very best. That was our first A! And now only two years later we get our second A!

You can say that the name was a premonition of sorts.

One thing is for sure, we did our homework to earn these two “A’s” and it’s a great feeling.

Back in ’09 when we were recognized the first time instead of resting in our laurels, we felt it was a wake up call and the honor would force us only to get better. Isaac Mizrahi and I talked repeatedly about our biggest fear: complacency.

Instead we both got restless. Together with our great Management team and amazing staff we put the metal to the pedal and pushed ourselves to keep getting better.

We brought great new talent to Alma, we established new processes, we bumped up our digital mindset and expertise, we moved to a state of the art space, and we focused on integration and collaboration, both internally and with our clients. Today I’m happy and very proud to say that we are a much better partner to our clients and their brands, and we are committed to keep bettering ourselves across the board.

We compete with our clients’ competitors. Not against other agencies. It’s a small but very big difference.

The “A” as in the alphabet is just the beginning!

Luis Miguel –

My Customer Journey – An Anecdote about Effective Advertising

January 19, 2012

– By Henry Gómez | Director of Strategic Insights –

I don’t say it very often but sometimes I wonder if advertising really works and if it does what does really effective advertising look like?

Last night I had a very interesting experience.  I turned on the TV as I was going to bed and saw a TV spot I’d never seen before, it was for something called “Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics”. If you have fallen arches like me or have other foot problems you’ve probably tried over-the-counter orthotics and inserts in the past.  My experiences with them have been unsatisfying. But again, if you’re like me you’re always looking and hoping for the right solution.

The spot I saw was very straight forward.  It showcased a computerized kiosk in which a customer can have his/her feet evaluated in order to have the right “custom” orthotic recommended.  The look of the kiosk itself made it very intriguing, it screams “One size (or type) does NOT fit all, we have the exact right orthotic for you.”

So after being exposed to the 30 second commercial JUST ONCE I went online to the Dr. Scholl’s website where I saw a short video that is basically a longer form version of the commercial.

After watching the video I was even more intrigued so I entered my zip code into the store search app and found several drug stores in the general vicinity of my morning commute.  I resolved to stop in on the way to work to see if this is just a gimmick, wondering if the store really had the machine, if it would work, if they would have the correct orthotic for me, etc..

This morning I followed through and stopped at a CVS that the Dr. Scholl’s website promised had the kiosk.  It took a few minutes to find the kiosk as it was on an end cap in the back of the store facing the pharmacy.  I was initially disappointed with what I saw.  There were no orthotics on display as in the spot and the picture above.  Instead there were signs that said that the orthotics were available behind the front counter.  That was a minor turn off as initially I thought they had no stock or the machine was out of order.  But I stepped on the machine and followed the instructions.  It told me that I needed a CF 440.  Because I’m anal retentive I did the test again and got the same result.  Satisfied with my answer I went to front counter and asked for CF 440.  The clerk began looking for them and I was sure she’d say they didn’t have them but again my nagging doubt was relieved when the clerk produced the correct box.

I gave her my credit card and $50 later I had my CF 440 custom orthotics.  I got into the car and opened the packaging (which is very well done) and immediately placed the orthotics in my sneakers.  I’m not lying when I say that my feet felt super comfortable just sitting in the car.  I’ve been walking around with my new orthotics all day and am very happy.

What’s the moral to the story? Well I guess it’s that sometimes the right elements converge to make a sale.  In this case I was reached at the right time and I was in the right frame of mind to act on my initial curiosity.  The online experience was simple and aided in further getting me on the hook.  The retail experience was not optimal but good enough to get me to the cash register and lastly the product delivered on what it promised. The elapsed time from when I saw the spot to when I handed over $50 was less than 12 hours.

Dr. Scholl’s isn’t going to be winning a Lion at Cannes for this effort but I have a feeling that if there are a lot of others like me that an EFFIE is very possible and more importantly they will sell a lot of orthotics.  They are doing something right.

Henry –

Happy Holidays!

December 16, 2011

– By Luis Miguel Messianu | President & Chief Creative Officer –

A lot has been said about 2012. Mentions of Nostradamus’ prophecies or the Mayans predictions, among other notions, have added to the overall feeling of uncertainty we are all experiencing.

But if we think about it, it wasn’t that long ago that the world was supposed to come to an end when Y2K marked the beginning of the 21st century. Of course, the media leveraged their scare tactics, and guess what? Nothing happened and life went on.

So at this point and especially in the spirit of the Holidays, I think we should focus on the issues within our control.

We should celebrate the amazing human spirit. We should be happy for our capacity to confront adversity, and we should demonstrate our love to those around us. We might as well live with passion for what we do and make a continuous effort to keep learning and bettering ourselves every day.

We should remain optimistic. We should stay the course and we should feel proud of our accomplishments, big or small.

If we do that, my prophecy for 2012 is that we will certainly make it a better year than this one.

Here’s to a very Happy Holiday season for all of you, and may the New Year bring us all closer to all our dreams.


Luis Miguel –

Reading Between The Lines

December 6, 2011

– By Madeline Perez-Velez | Group Business Director –

A recent Hispanic Business article outlined the Big Auto Opportunity for Automakers. It spoke to the Hispanic share of market of new vehicles before, during and now post the economic downturn experienced in the U.S. from 2008 – 2010.  The key takeaway of the article was that Latinos have aggressively re-engaged in car buying after the economic slowdown.

While good news overall, with lots of numbers quoted, different kinds of cars and trucks mentioned, and top brands being purchased summarized, the most interesting part was the paragraph on research that stated what Hispanics look for in a new vehicle.  “Image”, “Manufacturer Reputation” and “Exterior Style” were the top 3 benefits.  Not surprising for Hispanics (especially those of us in Miami), “What statement the car makes about me” is a vital motivator.  Also ranking high on the list was technology – both smartphone enabled and hi-tech sound systems are key.

While none of this is a real surprise – given how Hispanics care about the impression others have of them, their high incidence of mobile phone use and of course, love of music – it’s a reminder that sometimes we can find insights, or the corroboration of insights, in the least likely of places.   In this case, the article provided an opportunity to think about and examine some emotional connectors associated with buying a car that can deepen the insights used in creative. The connector can be the desire to buy a certain brand, make or model, a way to stay connected safely via their phones while in the car or even the enhanced experience a sound system can ensure.

Of course, for me, having the right Auto Insurance provided by State Farm wraps it all up with a neat little bow!!