Festival Intelligence: Human nature powers LatAm’s most effective campaigns | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Human nature powers LatAm’s most effective campaigns

Advertising is not an exact science. While often the ultimate aim of any marketing activity is working towards an overall business goal, some of the most successful campaigns are often those which have a core objective from the outset – whether that’s simply to educate, to boost sales, drive awareness or increase brand perception – with results tracked as having a direct impact on those objectives.

As the largest category on the Festival of Media LatAm Awards 2018 shortlist, with 10 campaigns featured, The Effectiveness Award entries seemed an obvious place to start in trying to uncover what lies beneath when it comes to creating the most effective marketing campaigns in the region.

Brands featured in this category are not skewed towards any particular sector, with an even mix of advertisers spanning automotive, media and entertainment, not-for-profit, finance and utilities, technology, tourism, travel & leisure, and food & beverage sectors.

Agency UM was responsible for three of the campaigns, MediaCom for two, and the remainder from S4M, LOGAN, Initiative, Graphene and OMD (all with one entry each).

In terms of geographical spread, Argentina, Colombia and Puerto Rico accounted for 60% of the entries, with the remainder made up by Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and the US.

Given the fact that all campaigns which made the shortlist in this category were implemented on a media budget of less than $500K, achieving the best bang for their buck was high on the agenda for all the agencies behind each campaign – working towards a range of KPIs, the majority to meet sales objectives, but interestingly also to drive behavioural and societal change, which is no mean feat!

One of the key trends driving campaign effectiveness was in creating real, human connections with consumers – whether that was to make them really feel part of a campaign, to incite social change and change audience/cultural behaviour. There was a human nature element to all campaigns, led by personalisation and customisation to ensure relevant and meaningful connections.

Naturally, digital played a dominant role in this – both across online and mobile. From interactive conversations to experiences with gaming elements, data and programmatic again proved to be invaluable, both from an insight and optimisation perspective for audience targeting and retargeting purposes.

Speaking about his experience as a judge earlier this year at the Festival of Media Global Awards, Brian Crotty, CEO of OMD LATAM talked about how some of the most successful and awarded campaigns used fact-based / data-supported insights that “support simple human truths”. And these entries suggest this isn’t more pertinent than in Latin America.

Social media and the use of influencers, collaboration and media partnerships across print, TV and digital were used as additional tactics to meet specific campaign objectives. Results on earned media value, conversion and click through rates, social media/PR/influencer and digital reach were key in contributing to the overall success of this.

Andy Dubickas, VP, Global Solutions Consulting, Nielsen Visual IQ, said recently when outlining the key takeaways from this year’s IAB Conecta: “After a long period of instability, consumers and brands in Latin American are regaining confidence in the economy. As a result, the marketing and advertising landscape in the region is becoming more fast paced and complex. To grow in this environment, companies must meet consumer demand for convenience and personalisation and leverage digital strategies and innovation.”

But coming back to the human nature element; this was the one thread sewing all of the FOMLA Awards entries together. From rebuilding hope and raising spirits after a terrible natural disaster to marketing in the right moment to consumers, brands who show that they understand the local needs and preferences of Latin American consumers, taking into consideration the power of the people in all methods of communication, are leading the pack. Bringing a human element to marketing – in a variety of shapes and forms – is likely to be what continues to drive campaign effectiveness across LatAm.

We put the spotlight on two Festival of Media LatAm Awards 2018 shortlisted entries, which highlight this trend:

The Worst Soap Opera | UNICEF | OMD | Dominican Republic

Shortlisted for: The Effectiveness Award, Impact Award, Best Branded Content, Best Use of Traditional Media


In the Dominican Republic, 37% of women get married before turning 18, and 12% before their 15th birthday. To make matters worse, the law actually allows this but a big part of the country is blind to this reality. For years, attempts had been made to modify the legal framework that allows this. But the discussion has been continually postponed in the Senate. UNICEF had to make this a matter of national interest and demand action from the government to change the law.

OMD had to find a way to create a real emotional connection, stimulate discussion and incite social change. It analysed lifestyles, behaviour patterns, and in the end established that the best way to get the attention of its audience was to tell a story, to show all the negative implications of child marriage in the context they were most passionate about. Soap operas are one of the most watched contents in the country. Thus, it decided to use this narrative style to deliver the message and generate discussions in the community. It created a 10 episode story about the lusty love of an adult man living with an underage girl and the raw violence and abuse that followed, all while her family was unable to do anything about it.

The strategy was to tell the story in a raw way to provoke disgust in the viewers, making them feel uncomfortable and demand the TV networks to take the soap opera off air, in an effort to get the support of the public, celebrities, the press and, most importantly, get government officials to change this law. Congressmen spoke publicly about the necessity to modify the law, and even the Vice-president got involved. A new law was made prohibiting marriage until 18 years of age, without exceptions.

Jumanji en la selva | Sony Pictures / Zocalo Films | UM | Ecuador

Shortlisted for: The Effectiveness Award


With a huge sales target set by the client for the premiere of the movie Jumanji in the Jungle, UM was tasked with competing for attention in an increasingly more competitive market, during the holiday season. Under the narrative line of the film, the agency developed the strategy ‘Face your fears’, in which it would participate with activities that involved moviegoers and made them ‘feel part of it’.

With its consumption tool in cinemas, UM identified which contact points would activate and persuade the target group, achieving synergy in online and offline platforms, which maintained a line of communication in the Jungle style not just to meet its sales goal but ensure that moviegoers were ‘part of’ the movie in a natural way.

The agency activated influencers to talk about situations where fear did not allow them to advance. On the day of a live broadcast, they answered questions and shared with their fans. The day of the premiere, the Twitter hashtag #JumanjiEnLaSelva was launched. Simultaneously the agency activated digital assets, a microsite, with relevant information on characters, gallery, and opening date counter. It also activated interactive screens, branded with a game of puzzles, overcoming the challenge of leaving the puzzle – relating it to “Jumanji-the game”. The sales goal was fulfilled by 200%.

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