June 27th, 2008

State Farm Brings Advertainment to Latinos

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
Reuters

If TV is the new radio, advertising firm Alma DDB has taken the concept a step further with the creation of Los Felinos de la Noche.

The regional Mexican group stars in a multimedia State Farm Insurance campaign that began in March and has it playing opening gigs for major acts until July 6.

The trio, which played together informally before being cast in a TV commercial for the insurer, is on retainer to State Farm via the ad firm’s FiRe Advertainment division, Alma DDB president/chief creative officer Luis Miguel Messianu said. The group is working on a pilot for a reality show and other forms of entertainment in which the State Farm brand can be integrated.

Los Felinos’ song “Ahi Estoy” echoes the tagline of the State Farm campaign, the song itself—written in collaboration with the ad firm and producer Alberto Slezynger—but it doesn’t appear in the ads. Instead, it has been used in a viral video, played on tour and in an episode of Univision’s beauty contest reality series “Nuestra Belleza Latina.”

The campaign is the first music-focused effort by Alma DDB’s FiRe division. Music is just one of FiRe’s avenues—others include gaming and telenovelas. But “music is definitely a passion connection to Hispanics, so we will always look at music as an opportunity to create branded entertainment,” Messianu said.

A similar division at Saatchi & Saatchi was shuttered in 2007, months after the BBC’s Radio 1 pulled a song by a group the agency had formed after it was revealed to be a pitch for a brand of hair gel.

“Advertainment is just starting. It’s going to be trial and error,” Messianu said. “Given the current environment in the music industry, it’s incumbent on us to find ways to keep music evolving and support Hispanic talent.”

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