The RLB

Sep 30

Spanglish Ads Found To Strain the Brain

By: Chaille Alcorn, Brand Planner

The Premise

Many bilingual Hispanic Millennials toggle between Spanish and English seamlessly. 

The Assumption

So, as advertisers, our messaging could and possibly should dabble in Spanglish as well. It’s fun, human, and theoretically should resonate well. Right?

The Test

Nielsen’s Neuro Division tested a series of Spanglish ads among fully bilingual Hispanic Millennials. Bypassing self-report, they went straight to the brain and measured brain waves that indicated memory, emotion, and attention. Note that attention can be good (interest) or bad (cognitive strain).

The Findings

The language switch requires mental effort, so attention is higher when a new language is introduced. In this test, however, memory and attention were inversely related: language switches require finite, cognitive resources. Thus, when attention increases, memory storage is inhibited.

Conclusion

Use it, don’t abuse it. Speaking and processing Spanglish are two different things. The language switch tasks the brain. If you have a strong insight, strategic angle, or storyline that requires the language switch, then do it, but realize the risk.

Limitations of the Study

Don’t pull the fire alarm just yet. What Nielsen doesn’t discuss in this study is ad and campaign wear-in. It stands to reason that cognitive strain will lessen with each repeated exposure to a Spanglish ad. Also, this study is a high-level view of Spanglish use and does not test the varied ways in which advertisers execute it. We cannot assume that these findings apply to, for example, a radio ad in English that closes with a Spanish tagline. 

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Sep 25

We Are All Creative

Before: Jorge as a Brand Managerimage

By: Jorge Rosales, Art Director

“Do you want to be brand management or creative?”

That is the question I was asked during my first interview at The Richards Group; easily one of the most important and nerve-racking questions I’ve answered.

The organizational needs and structure of what brand management is catered to an already in-place set of skills I had fine-tuned and acquired in the Marine Corps. I did however go to school for advertising design. 

I chose creative. I went with art direction. It is a decision that has given birth to many Star Wars referenced jokes about the dark and good sides around the office. 

This lateral transition has opened my eyes to new schools of thought and processes.

Having experience in brand management has resulted in better communication and relationships. Advertising is challenging enough on it’s own without muddying the waters with numerous vocabularies, meetings made to set up other meetings, creative sensibilities and subjective feedback towards creative.

Time and interpretations of work are the leading causes of stress between brand managers and creatives. And it’s not going anywhere, there will always be a friction between the best of brand managers and creatives, but how can we make it a healthy friction.  

Beyond time & interpretation, a better understanding for the root of friction can be found in each discipline’s method of prioritizing tasks. Knowing and understanding each other’s priorities can lead to a happy middle ground not only between brand managers and creatives but all interdisciplinary relationships.

We know brand managers can categorize emails like no one’s business and dream about Xcel sheets with immaculate pivot tables, while creatives salivate at every Adobe upgrade on their Creative Suite and feel untouchable because a clean canvas holds everything to their vision. The tools used for our responsibilities aren’t as important as one would think though; it’s how we prioritize our responsibilities where the differences begin between disciplines.

Having come from a brand management background has helped me understand their priorities a little better; and this isn’t to say I succumb to a discipline’s needs before mine, but rather makes it easier for us, as a team to find a sweet spot that takes into consideration both our priorities while respecting time and work as well.

How do you reach a point where you can hash this out? You quite literally hash it out. I’m blessed to work with brand managers that are bluntly honest and thick-skinned. Many a time, we’ve argued, raised voices and briefly hated each other; all to the end of better work for our clients and a better relationship among us. We also learn the best ways to speak to each other, we find a common lexicon and discover how to treat each other to not make this job any harder than it already it is.

Given we are in an industry where communications of products and messages are the only thing seen by the world we mustn’t forget the first step of any project, our own communication and we should be proactive in learning, knowing and above all respecting each and every discipline’s role and responsibility.

We work in different disciplines; some of us don’t know what pivot tables are and others may not know the difference between a clone brush and a heal brush, but at the end of the day the final outcome is a great idea that comes from the entire team. So next time you hear anybody at your agency say “I’m not a creative, but…” tell them to reconsider. 

We all are.

imageAfter: Jorge as a Art Director

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Sep 23

My Addiction

By: Jorge Almeida, Brand Manager 

There’s something about me that’s personal that I don’t like to talk about at work. It’s something I’m proud of, but I only bring it up when people ask me about it. And there’s a reason for that. Because it’s about my addiction. I’m addicted to running.

I’m not going to talk too much about how I started running. (That’s a really long story – but a good one, nonetheless, that I’ll save just for those who really want to hear it.) But after 12 full marathons, 13 half marathons, and 4 half IRONMANs, I’ve come to realize a very important thing about my addiction. Running has taught me so many things that apply to my job. In fact, there are so many lessons and teachings that easily relate to my role at Richards/Lerma. Here are a few: 

  1. Running teaches you commitment. Should you go out with your friends and stay up late on Friday night or wake up at 5 a.m. Saturday to run the Katy Trail? In dealing with clients and your internal teams, you need to be fully committed to your projects all the way through, just as you commit to your training and running plans.
  2. Running is about setting goals: “I want to run a 5K.” Or maybe you want to run your first marathon under four hours. In the same way, we need to set goals with our clients. Are we bringing more sales to our clients? Are we increasing brand awareness by a certain percentage by the end of the year?
  3. Running also teaches you about accountability. Especially if you run with a group. Your fellow runners will keep you accountable if you don’t show up and run. Very similarly, an important part of a good client/agency relationship is holding each other accountable on things such as timelines and objectives.

That’s it for now on my addiction, but I know it will provide many more lessons that I can bring to my work at this agency. 

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Sep 16

El Lado B - Kathy Beal

Kathy Beal

Whether it’s from her voice on the phone, her sweet presence at the front desk, or a reference to her namesake room in the office, there’s no way you can spend a day at Richards/Lerma without hearing the name “Kathy.” Kathy is a true Dallasite, born and raised in this beautiful city, with 28 years in the advertising industry under her belt. While she started at The Richards Group as a coordinator, Kathy has been with Richards/Lerma since its inception in 2008.

Kathy’s most memorable career moment was the“stairwell” celebration for her 20th anniversary at The Richards Group. Her family attended, and as a gift from the agency, she received a trip to Alaska with her husband. While in Alaska, she enjoyed two of her favorite hobbies: bird-watching and fishing. In fact, Kathy loved her trip so much, when asked, “If you could be immortal for a day and do anything, what would you do?” – she said to be an eagle and soar over Alaska.

We are so thankful for Kathy and all that she does for our office!

Favorites:

Quote: “Make every hour of your day happy hour.”

Place: Hawaii

Movie: “The Sound of Music”

Music: “Oldies but goodies”

Flavor of Froyo: Coffee or Cheesecake

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Sep 10

Consumers Are Still Listening

By: Grisel Perez, Brand Manager

Radio a thing of the past? No, not really. As time has passed and new digital technology continues to emerge, marketers are fast to assume that traditional media is a thing of the past. Now, let’s hold on a second. 

The reality is that traditional media is very relevant today; it’s just evolving and adapting to fulfill new consumer needs. Surprisingly, it also provides an impressive ROI. That’s not saying that Facebook and other digital media don’t, but radio is still very prevalent for many brands. 

The audio landscape has definitely changed, but it hasn’t disappeared. Nielsen reports that nearly 30 million Hispanic listeners are reached by network radio each week. And this number only considers a section of the population.

Content has changed. There are so many options that the audio landscape has to offer. Radio listeners – more commonly known as radio escuchas in the Hispanic market – vary in ages. Radio is not only for Generation X, as some would assume.

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Nielsen shows that 65% of Hispanic Millennials are reached by network radio each week! Surprise, surprise. This number increases even more when we take a closer look at the African-American market.

Why all this talk about radio? Advertisers, marketers, and even brands may be losing track ROI, results, and the room for creativity of one of the oldest media of communication (radio) has to offer.

Don’t believe it? Earlier this year, a study from Nielsen Catalina Solutions showed that “brands average a sales lift of more than $6 in every $1 spent on radio ads.” Yes, radio advertising is more economical, but the results are still impressive. In short: Pay attention to radio; digital is great, but radio is not staying behind. Consumers are still listening.

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Sep 05

Generation Z. Already.

Image: Wesley Fryer/Flickr.com

By: Michael Kasberg, Digital Strategist 

It seems all things digital are moving more and more quickly. New networks launch and disappear daily, algorithms change almost weekly, and the strategies behind digital marketing are in constant flux. And now, already, we find ourselves looking beyond the “key audience” of Millennials and focusing on Generation Z.

We found this Generation Z infographic outlining some of the key insights about this new market and felt compelled to make sense of all the numbers. 

Without so much as a breath, the baton is already being passed from Millennials to GenZ as these kids (really, the oldest of the group is just out of high school) born in 1995 or later hold roughly $44B in yearly purchasing power. They also make up nearly 26% of the population (larger than any other age group) and are considered “driven workers,” business-oriented, and future-focused. With these bits of information, it is evident Generation Z could soon become one of the most impactful generations in decades in terms of economic stability. 

How do I reach these kids? Focus on doing good and doing digital. In the real world, GenZ is concerned with activism, creating a better Earth, and working hard to accomplish their goals. Online, they consume massive amounts of information in small portions across as many as five screens.

It’s more important than ever for brands and companies to act as an ever-present friend, mentor, and role model. Execute strategies and campaigns consistently across every medium and empower this target with education, control, and inspiration. This target is already mentally mature and self-directed; they cannot be fooled with shallow campaigns or shiny objects.

In short: Be genuine and find a way to make a difference.

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Aug 28

Perspective of the Agency from a Nueva Lermana

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By: Sydnee Bush, Social Strategy Intern

When I walked into Richards/Lerma on my first day, I expected a warm welcome (no pun intended with the reality of Dallas weather), many new faces, and the smell of coffee. I didn’t get what I expected; I got more. I was greeted with hugs instead of handshakes, fresh smiles instead of just faces, and Clamato instead of coffee. With the consideration of only being in Texas for 72 hours and starting work at an agency I had only visited via Google Maps, you can imagine the mezcla of apprehension, nervousness, and excitement flowing through my veins. This is my sixth week at R/L, and I am happy to say that the apprehension and nervousness have ceased and I have survived on excitement alone.

Being that I’ve always been on a creative track (copywriting), I never saw myself pursuing a career in social media or digital, but as a social-savvy Millennial, this discipline is second nature. The most rewarding part is that, in addition to social listening and moderation, I get to leverage my writing skills daily when developing content for client and internal work. Although I started taking Spanish classes in kindergarten, minored in Spanish in college, and studied abroad in Argentina, my ability and confidence to speak Spanish has improved even more in my short time here.

The beauty of my internship here at Richards/Lerma is that I truly learn something new every day (yes, even things unrelated to advertising). I can’t wait to see how my time here will unfold, and I’m glad to be “una Lermana!”

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Aug 21

Richards/Lerma Exchange Program - Week 4

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The Richards/Lerma Exchange Program is officially over and Jorge and Pablo have safely returned to their home countries. Read their reflections from the past month and the biggest takeaways from their experience.

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Pete, Aldo, and Guillermo for making this experience possible for Pablo and me.

Even as I try to reflect on a month, I find it very difficult to believe it was only 30 days, and at the same time that it flew by so quickly. I was very fortunate to not only experience the creative processes and environment of another office, but also of another country. My relatively young career in advertising has been very unique for many reasons: I was educated in the U.S., I work side by side with an amazing cast of people from around the world, and I recently had the opportunity to learn what is done differently in Argentina, one of the most creative countries in the world.

I am nothing but confident this exposure can only mean growth as an art director that will happily transfer to my projects and clients. Through this experience, I bring back new procedures, new ways of thinking, and fresh approaches and techniques. In a nutshell, I return with more strategies to attack the ever-challenging tasks of coming up with memorable, world-class advertising.

The cast assembled in Furia is one of the tightest-knit families I’ve ever seen and had the pleasure to be part of. It is never where you are or what you’re doing, but rather who you’re with in those moments. The guys at Furia have become great colleagues and, more importantly, friends.

Lastly and most important, I’d like to thank anyone and everybody who has been part of this experience. You’ve made it unforgettable. Thank you for the hospitality, the memories, and the laughs.

Ciao for now.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

I’m back! Back in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, and at Furia. I arrived feeling strange because I had gotten used to Richards/Lerma (“R/L”), the Texas weather, and the people. After spending so much time living elsewhere, it is almost impossible not to recap and make comparisons. It makes you appreciate everything you have and understand how different (or not) we are. Working at R/L made me realize the value of team work and to respect ideas, the process, etc. 

I was very lucky to get this opportunity at this stage of my life. I grew a lot this month, and my only hope is to prove this at work and share with my peers everything I’ve learned from this exchange.

A month passed by so fast that I feel as if I were only gone a weekend. I was lucky that from the beginning everyone was good to me. I don’t have enough words other than thank you. Thank you to Pete Lerma, Aldo Quevedo, and Guille Tragant for trusting Jorge and me to be the first selected for this exchange program. I have no doubt that this program will make the three agencies continue to grow together, that the distances between the three countries will seem increasingly shorter. 

Thank you very much, and see you again tomorrow as always. :)

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Aug 14

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 3 

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

If I’m lucky, when my fellow art directors Lina Puentes and Christian Sendra are unavailable – on vacation, out sick, or too busy – I’ll get to help out and direct art for other brands, such as The Home Depot or Ram. Otherwise, I concentrate solely on MetroPCS, Clamato, and Chrysler. Honestly, the days when I can touch multiple brands and help the agency across several accounts have become my favorite. Those days give us art directors and creatives alike the break we may need from a routine.

In a typical day, I (along with the team) focus on fewer accounts. We’re still busy and being pulled 20 different ways from here to Sunday, just with fewer brand managers.

Furia, our Argentina office, has a different method to the madness. Each and every art director and copywriter is used to his or her advantage and capacity. No account or client belongs to one creative. It is spread around based on need and timing. Easily the most shocking and most welcoming aspect of this exchange has been the ease of multitasking within the agency. I’ve worked on presentations for Google in the morning, fleshed out concepts for an Argentinian national newspaper after lunch, and finished up the day by creating visual graphics for Argentina’s national highway ministry.

Is the next day the same? Not if you’re lucky. I have to complete concepting and packaging for Edding markers, apply the latest feedback to a Chrysler presentation, and proofread several pieces that need to be done in English, since English is my first language. Like I said, everyone is used to his or her strengths.

I’ve been lucky enough to witness and participate in how these two very distinct office processes come together to achieve big projects, win pitches, and help each other out when one office is being overwhelmed. I’m sure our Mexico office also has a unique operating method. 

The goal is the same within the three offices: Don’t let anything out the door without meeting high standards in all disciplines. If anything, the different paths we each take helps us find new avenues of approach, global views, insights, and unexpected solutions.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

My final week has arrived. I have spent a month enjoying this beautiful experience and feel that this balance not only has enriched me professionally but also personally. Working with a team that made me feel welcome ​​from the beginning – and where the strong team spirit makes everything possible – has made my experience very pleasant.

I didn’t want the final week to come, but here we are. Although I miss Argentina, it’s going to be difficult for me to leave. 

This week was super-productive, working with brands such as MetroPCS, The Home Depot, Clamato, and Kendall-Jackson. It has been a great experience working with major brands. I have learned a lot by working, but I also have gained insight into customs here that only can be learned by living it, watching it every day on the street, and through the people. 

It has been a month in which I could play someone else and never feel like a tourist. I think that is what made this exchange worthwhile: to feel, think, and sound like someone from Dallas. 

I now dream like someone from both Dallas and Argentina. I hope I can relay my time here to my peers in Buenos Aires so that everybody can grow through my experience. Hopefully our next job will find us near each other again … without using Skype.

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To follow the Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange Program, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Aug 07

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 2

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See how Week 2 of our summer exchange program went for Jorge and Pablo as they enjoy their new surroundings in Buenos Aires and Dallas.

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

How’s my second week in Buenos Aires? 

Initially, I can’t say I was too excited about not having personal transportation. I wasn’t looking forward to rubbing elbows, having to breathe so close to folks on the bus, and especially being forced to use rails (for balance) that surely have been used by those in the world who don’t fancy washing their hands after using the restroom (I still carry hand sanitizer everywhere). I’ve warmed up to people-watching. I’ve even befriended several “regulars” whose curiosity has been piqued by my foreign accent. I’ve come to embrace the challenge it is to ride a speeding bus without using rails. And I certainly can’t find anything wrong with having an extra 40 minutes of reading time in my day. I’m currently reading A Bear Called Paddington: His First Adventures, if you must know.

It is extremely difficult to compare food of any country objectively. I’ve always loved food, and plan to do so for the rest of my life. I’m fortunate enough to have eaten dishes from around the world. The hype for Argentina’s food has lived up to every review from Yelp, co-workers, friends, and foodies. French fries are Argentina’s preferred side dish. They accompany almost every meal, but I’ve yet to see a bottle of ketchup. Argentina stands out in all that is beef. One would think that’s a hard statement to swallow for someone from Texas, but rest assured: Texas still owns BBQ and fried food. Argentina has mastered beef. Enough said. I’m up to 17 different types of cuts from the cow, if you must know.

I’m very proud to say that my Spanish has improved exponentially since joining Richards/Lerma. I consistently ask friends at the office to correct me if I say something wrong, because at the end of the day, Tex-Mex Spanish was my second language, not actual Castilian Spanish. In the short time I’ve been there, I feel more confident about speaking it, writing it, and expressing myself in Castilian Spanish.

I’m back to square one here. The Spanish in Argentina is another thing: new intonations, new inflections, new volumes – the accent mark here is a whole different beast, and there are so many new words and phrases. Needless to say, I’m absorbing and loving the new words, lingo, and slang being tossed around. Like a sponge, I ask what this or that means both in “Argentinian Spanish” and colloquially. I’ve learned 36 new Spanish words, if you must know (and, no, they’re not mostly curse words).

I have projects I’m new to on my desk (more of that to come next week). I’m working side by side with colleagues I’ve only known or seen via Skype. And I have been introduced to the simple beauty of a choripán. I’ll probably gain 7½ pounds from this exchange. I’m 5,277 miles from home. And I’m enjoying every second of it, if you must know.

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La Basílica de San Nicolas (Above)

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El Salón Blanco de le Casa Rosada (Above)

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Recoleta Cementerio (Above)

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

It’s the second week of this great experience. I’m in a second wind and starting to see things differently. I’m starting to really feel the routine. I know the usual time to get up, and see the same faces on the train. I’m not traveling anymore. I’m in Dallas. It is a very strange feeling, since it is for only a limited time, but my head believes that I’ve been here forever.            

In these two weeks, I have had the opportunity to learn many of the processes used by creatives. I was able to assist with an annual campaign, to present and sell it. The craziest thing is that while writing this blog post, I saw that the client approved the campaign.

I don’t really know if time goes by faster here or if it is pure coincidence. What I do know is that people here respect time, process, and each person’s contribution to the agency. It’s possible for ideas to come from creative, planning, etc. I also see how dialogue with the client can be so fluid that it becomes part of the process as well. 

The truth is that I feel very comfortable here and am trying to enjoy and benefit from the entire experience. I just hope it doesn’t go by too fast.

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The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (below)

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Real Madrid v. AS Roma game at the Cotton Bowl (below)

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To follow the Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange Program, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.