Marketers to Star On Hispanic Show

Following the lead of product placement in shows such as American Idol and Survivor, a handful of marketers have turned to a Spanish-language reality show in an effort to woo Hispanic consumers.

Miller Lite, Ford, Terra and Americatel are among the sponsors of Telemundo’s new Protaganistas de Novelas 2, a cross between American Idol and The Real World, in which 14 aspiring actors compete for a role on an upcoming telenovela with audience members voting contestants off. The show, which debuts this week, will feature placements ranging from a cooler filled with Miller Lite to a Ford that’s used to drive off contestants who are eliminated.

“We feel it’s a format featuring people our consumers can relate to,” said Eduardo Casas, senior brand manager of multicultural marketing for Miller Lite. “There are actual [opportunities] that call for the interaction with our products and play off the same interactions in real life.”

The reality genre and product placement are relatively new to Hispanic programming. Most shows are produced in Latin America, where U.S. companies have less influence and connections to TV production, said Elena Marroquin, director of strategy for Tapestry, the multicultural-marketing division of Starcom MediaVest Group in Chicago. “I’ve got to believe that we still have a non-cynical consumer that is appreciative they’re being talked to,” she said.

“Product placement is still much more acceptable in the Hispanic market, because it’s much less jaded or cynical than the general market,” said Filipe Korzenny, a principal at Cheskin, a Redwood Shores, Calif., multicultural-marketing consultancy. “This is probably one of the better times to get in.”