”Communicate aspirations, positive thoughts and optimism.”
That’s the key advice to marketers and advertising agency executive Luis Miguel Messianu, COO of South Florida-based agency Alma DDB, has to offer.
Speaking January 22 at a Versailles Breakfast Club event in Miami’s Little Havana, Messianu began his presentation by outlining the “lacks” of 2009.
Specifically, Messianu looks back at the last 12 months by pointing out:
* Lack of prosperity and Lack of Jobs
* Lack of credit and Lack of confidence
* Lack of loyalty
* Lack of compensation
Speaking of the anemic job market, Messianu notes that those out of work must pursue career reinvention or chase their “real dreams.”
Additionally, the Alma DDB head sees a confidence crisis — another unfortunate result of the 2008-09 economic downturn.
“If anything, this economic downturn has been an eye-opener and sending people back to basics,” Messianu says.
First, he believes a brand manager or CMO should be actively rebuilding loyalty, and points to the automotive industry as the first sector to actively tackle the challenge.
Hyundai grew its market share by 14 percent in 2009, he notes, and was the lone automotive company to see improved market share last year. It was also the only car maker to offer a return-your-vehicle-at-no-penalty program for those who lost their jobs in 2009.
That being said, the economic downturn has affected consumer behavior — to some extent, at least.
“The reality is we need to continue to live, and consumers need to consume. But what they consume will be different.”
Alma DDB client McDonald’s typically promoted convenience, “fast food” and its “breakfast on the go” concepts in its creative. As a Hispanic agency of record for the quick service restaurant since 1994, messaging created by Alma DDB has taken the approach that “it’s about the extra snooze because McDonald’s is putting together breakfast for you.”
Arriving at that approach to targeting Latino consumers came after Messianu realized that insights only go so far when examining customer behavior. “It is the way you interpret that observation that matters,” he says. “It’s about synergy … but it is also about relevance.”
Quoting Albert Einstein, Messianu pointed out that the greatest inventions come out of times of crisis, and that unconventional approaches can yield great ideas and actionable plans.
Getting to that point goes back to optimism, Messianu says.
“Change your outlook, and gain control of the situation,” he says. “We are in the business of optimism, and of creating dreams. Optimism allows for the creation of a better environment in which to nurture ideas.”
“We are in the business of optimism, and of creating dreams. Optimism allows for the creation of a better environment in which to nurture ideas.”
Messianu believes that the best advertising connects with what is happening in real life. To illustrate, he played several McDonald’s television commercials that clearly hit on several Latino touchpoints.
In one humorous spot for the Golden Arches, a group of Hispanic young men are in a car running on empty; the passengers are spotting the cheapest gas station by calling out the per-gallon price. Suddenly from the back seat someone calls out “one dollar,” and the car slams to a halt. However, it’s not $1 a gallon gas that has grabbed the guys’ attention. Instead, it’s a McDonald’s sign promoting a $1 Dollar Menu item. The spot ends with the nourished guys pushing the car to the nearest gas station.
Putting a spin on a depressing topic, the War in Iraq, another spot features a father and daughter at a train station enjoying Chicken McNuggets. With one McNugget left, the daughter saves it for her mom, who has just returned from the Persian Gulf and has disembarked an arriving train.
In a third spot — one that puts a spin on Latina empowerment — a woman in an office who frets of being laid off is promoted and awarded with a corner office. McDonald’s take-out is part of the congratulatory efforts from co-workers.
“These spots again speak to the fact that we are in the business of aspirations,” Messianu says.
And by aspiring to be positive and forward-thinking, cyncism and pessimism can be conquered in the months ahead.
– Adam R Jacobson