The RLB

Jul 31

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 1

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Richards/Lerma has officially started its summer exchange program between its U.S. and Argentina offices. Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma, and Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia, are the first to participate in the program.  In a literal “Mi casa es tu casa," both are living in each other’s home, working on each other’s projects, and living each other’s lives.  See how their first week went below!

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

What once was Dallas is now Buenos Aires. 

What once was a stretched landscape that required driving to reach a location has been replaced by a condensed city, buzzing around the clock. Buildings, structures and landmarks fight for the same real estate. What one can see in three city blocks in Buenos Aires can take a 10-minute drive in Dallas. Shops opening, residents sweeping their sidewalk, dogs being walked, and of course the bus driver who apparently is not trying to pick up a fare, but simply treating his route as a speedway course are just a few of the events I’ve witnessed daily in my first week.

What once was a mundane eight-minute commute in Dallas is now a 45-minute people-watching expedition by foot and bus. The slow migration of residents that takes place from neighboring apartment buildings leads to multiple bus stops in the morning. The bus fills and overfills with individuals who can tell where they are and where they must get off just by the speed bump count and turns taken, so as not to take their eyes away from their phones or morning paper.

What once was an office with 30+ friends who doubled as colleagues separated by distance with minimal décor and a rock band setup is now a homely, eccentric office inhabited by 10+ friends who also double as colleagues. The walls are filled with what I believe is the best invention of all time: books. There are shelves, rows and stacks of books with the sole purpose of creative inspiration to any who lend their time and attention. Peppered along these shelves are a plethora of trinkets that must have an interesting story as to how they came to sit on these walls.

Not all has changed.

What once was an agency filled with talented individuals, ambition and innovative thinking is still the same. The standards and expectations set for all work with the stamp of Richards/Lerma or Furia transcend all manmade boundaries.

I look forward to embracing the subtle differences between advertising lives in Dallas and Argentina.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

My day started at 7 a.m. Yes, 7 in the morning! I checked my phone and saw the temperature was over 35°C, though it seems that it’s going to be higher than that.

I take a shower, have breakfast and go to the agency…like a zombie, not only because I feel like a dead man at that hour, but because there was nobody on the street. Nobody. It was empty like a ghost town! Everyone moves here by car even for small distances. Dallas is very different from Buenos Aires where everyone moves by bus, train or car, but you can handle every option. Dallas seems to live in the middle of a “Scalextric” where everyone moves, and nobody has time for rest.

Finally I ARRIVED AT THE AGENCY! And that’s when I do not feel foreign. The first week was intense, but the journey and the workgroup have flown well. It makes you want to work and be involved in each project, and that makes the time go by. And although you woke up early, you keep working and working… 

From the beginning, everyone at the agency has pointed out to me that this is also my agency. These are my accounts, my projects, and although we are physically in three different offices, we work and we are just one.

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To follow the summer exchange program, check out the Richards/Lerma Facebook and Instagram pages.

Jul 21

What “Multi-Screen-Tasking” Means For Brands

By: Megan Taylor, Brand Planner

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At some point we have all been guilty of “watching” TV, meanwhile browsing on our tablet or live tweeting via our smartphone. I do this all the time, and it’s a habit I should kick, but this is the reality of today (sorry, Mom). The truth is, it is getting harder to find single-screened households. If you don’t believe me, here are some facts: The average household has somewhere around 4.4 devices, 2.6 devices per member – and the number increases to 3.2 when it is a teen.    

This may sound like a lot, but the barriers that once kept people from adopting devices are slowly diminishing. The entry price points are much lower than before, accessibility to the Internet has gotten easier, and with a wide selection of name-brand and off-brand products, there is bound to be something for you.

More devices and multi-screens in households and the outside world – what does that mean for brands, and more importantly advertising? What is the impact on reach when you mix TV and digital video? Can you measure them together? All good questions, and I happen to have the answers.

I recently attended a YuMe event, where a first-of-its-kind research report – called “Mix + Measure, Exploring the Impact of Multi-Screen Mixology” – was presented. YuMe partnered with Nielsen and found some interesting results that will impact how brands approach their advertising media mix.

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In a nutshell:

By no means do the findings suggest traditional media is dead and gone. It does, however, clearly point out that brands and advertising agencies need to be cognizant that TV and digital make a bigger impact together than apart. We know multi-screens are the new reality. Now let’s have a conversation with consumers.

If you are interested in reading the full report, follow this link:

http://www.yumeresearch.com/ 

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 17

The Power of Storytelling – Game of Thrones Style

By: Rachel Castro, Brand Planning Intern

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS 

What do Sunday nights in spring mean to you? If they mean treason, blood, sex, kings, and an eternal winter, then you are like me and the other 7 million people who watch Game of Thrones (GOT), HBO’s fantasy drama.

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Image Credit: Cersei Lannister at Game of Thrones Fan Art 

This phenomenon is not limited to the United States. This TV show has been successful worldwide and across different cultures. So what is so intriguing about watching people eliminate each other in the most unthinkable ways, frozen zombies, and men fighting over a throne that, in my opinion, looks very uncomfortable?   

Why are people so worried that author George R.R. Martin might die before he finishes this amazing story? Don’t worry, guys; GOT screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss already considered that and know how GOT will end, so they have us covered. Some people just don’t understand the obsession with GOT. I think I do, so I’ll share my humble opinion. 

Benioff and Weiss are primarily responsible for the success of GOT – besides the acting, of course. They have mastered the art of storytelling, and GOT is all about that. While Martin’s books are rich in detail and imagery, they are also difficult to read and understand at times. The screenplay writers have managed to explain the story in an interesting and engaging way for TV. 

Everything is really dramatic: The animated opening of the show depicting the seven kingdoms (in our business, infographics and animation can help us to present information because it is an easier way for people to understand facts, numbers, etc.); the killing off of a main character in the first season; and the surprising mayhem during the red and purple weddings.

What can we learn from this successful TV show? How we can make our brands be the conversation piece on social media like GOT, which dominates social media outlets on Mondays?

The answer: Dynamic storyline + complex characters + unpredictable plot lines + creativity + powerful themes = outstanding entertainment.

Great storytelling is a key tool for entertainment. When viewers find good, entertaining content, they are engaged. They get intimately connected with the characters and their stories. Brands should do the same with their customers, because in the end, it’s all about human connections. We need to add this element to the equation. 

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Nowadays, we have more ways to connect with our consumer. YouTube is one way to make that connection. Three of the top 10 most-viewed videos on YouTube last year were ads. This means people actually want to watch ads, especially if the ads provide good content.  

In GOT, you either win or die. In our case, either you create good and engaging content or you will lose customers to other brands. Let’s take advantage of this and use it to our benefit. 

And for those of you who haven’t seen the show, I encourage you to join the dark side. 

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 14

Cannes Es Una Fiesta

By: Guillermo Tragant, Principal/Creative Director

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a party. A party of insights, of points of view, of opinions, of trend spotting, of keyword buzz. A celebration that connects us with colleagues, clients, vendors, advertising legends, friends, competitors, and most important of all, it connects us with the reason we started to work in this business: Ideas.

Here are some of the images I took during the week, and some random keywords that I wrote in my notes:

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With Luis Messianu (Alma) and Andy Fogwill (Landia)

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Ben Silverman, Founder of Pinterest

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Diego Bracamontes, Creative Excellence Director - Coca Cola México  

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With Marta Fontcuberta Rueda (Coca Cola México)  

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With Luciana Gomez (Dieste) and Ciro Sarmiento (Dieste)

Remember that time? The time when we worked in advertising and people had this dream of quitting their jobs to do art, or write a book, or create products, or do games, films, or installations? Well, advertising just turned into all the things we used to dream about doing in our spare time. This is a great time to be in this industry and have fun. Anything is possible.

I came home excited and full of energy to face the rest of the year. I feel happy and encouraged to do better work with my team.  The good and the bad is that we had to go all the way to the beach in France to realize this…though I am not complaining.

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Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 10

Say Hello to Generation Z

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Image Courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By: Alfredo Pina, Brand Manager

If you work in the ad industry or any arm of marketing, or you simply don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term Millennial(s), less commonly referred to as Generation Y. For over a decade, Millennials have been the over-researched focus of nearly every marketing effort.

This is the youthful generation that saw the birth and evolution of the Internet, the modern cellphone (from a 1980s brick to a mini-computer), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. But Millennials are also a generation of the past, of Myspace, of dial-up, of house phones, of AOL discs, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Biggie, Tupac, and Nirvana.

There’s a quiet focus growing on a new generation whose members are not even old enough to drive. They’ve never had a home phone number. They don’t know what the “Yellow Pages” are. They will likely never send a fax, use a pay phone, or own a VCR.

Say hello to Generation Z.

This is the first truly digital generation. They’ll never know an offline world without instant access, anywhere, anytime. Their parents post sonogram images of them online before they are even born. They learn to use iPads and iPhones before simple addition, subtraction, or division – and in some cases, even before speech.

They’re growing up during a U.S. recession, and this country has almost always been at war the majority of their life, yet their flow of information and news is so self-curated that they can largely go unaware (hint to marketers). They are the generation of an obesity crisis, of Internet celebrities, and online dating, and yet they’re optimistic, aspirational, and seek unconventional paths to success (professional bloggers, reality show stars, app inventors). 

With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine the difficult road ahead for companies hoping to reach Gen Z. How will they lump together a massive generation becoming more culturally segmented each day? How will media reach an audience that tunes out advertising and has a seemingly endless array of options for entertainment? How will a brand appeal to a profitably large consumer segment and make a real connection? It’s too early to know all the answers, especially with whatever technological advances we’ll see in the next two decades, but now is the time to shift focus toward Gen Z.

For more information on Generation Z, check out the following reports:

JWT Intelligence - Gen Z: Digital In Their DNA 

Sparks & Honey: Meet Generation Z

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 07

U.S. Hispanic Wine Culture: An Investigation

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By: Chaille Alcorn, Brand Planner

At some point in my adolescence, I developed a passion for uncovering counterintuitive and often counterculture truths. This passion eventually festered into utter contempt for specious reasoning. Today, much of my work as a brand planner is driven by this contempt.

In fact, my blood pressure just rose as I typed that.

Today, to give you a glimpse of what I mean, I want to take you behind the superficial curtain of reasoning used to explain a specific Hispanic consumer behavior. 

U.S. Hispanics’ Lagging Wine Consumption

According to the experts, to bring Hispanic wine consumption up to the level of the typical U.S. consumer, consumption would need to increase by nearly 50 million cases over the next 20 years. 

But why the lag? It’s not like Hispanics aren’t drinking alcohol, right? To explain, a lot of fingers get hastily pointed at three superficial and/or speculated truths:

  1. A strong cultural connection with beer, tequila, and mezcal
  2. A sweeter palate and flavor profile
  3. A perception that wine doesn’t go well with Mexican food

The first thing that should tip you off as to why these “truths” might need some challenging is the lack of research. Hispanics-and-wine is a fairly new topic of discussion. This means wine CMOs have yet to pump the big bucks into research that teases out the consumer intricacies. Groupthink runs rampant during this gestation period. One report gets recycled, cited, and cannibalized over and over. It’s a deceptive phase that can hinder thinking if not taken lightly. 

So, I did some digging of my own.

Because around 70% of the U.S. Hispanic population is of Mexican decent, the first place we need to look to understand the root of the lag is the history of Mexico and wine. And when we do this, a stronger story reveals itself:

1597

With the arrival of the Spanish, Mexico began making wine, making it the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas.

1699

Charles II of Spain prohibited wine making in Mexico.

1821

Mexico achieved independence, large-scale wine production was back on the table, and the Mexican wine industry began to rise steadily.  

1910-1920

The Mexican Revolution set wine production back again.

Today

Mexico is at the bottom of the wine-drinking nations list; on average, people drink only half a liter per year. North of the border, here in the United States, average consumption is 20 times higher.

In short, hiccup after hiccup after hiccup changed the course of a nation poised initially to be a renowned and well-established wine country, and a hefty tariff (~40%) keeps wine just out of reach of many who can’t and (due to lack of familiarity and custom) don’t want to justify the expense.

So the next time someone makes a crack or definitive statement about Mexicans’ strong cultural connection with beer, tequila, and mezcal, tell them that they’re right, but only somewhat. Tell them that emotional connections are products of familiarity and accessibility, and that even the most seemingly intangible and inherent cultural artifacts are usually rooted in something practical. When superficial, unchecked insights like “food pairing perceptions” and “sweeter palates” get thrown around, call B.S. on those easy, seductive arguments. 

Most importantly, the next time you get a whiff of that fishy groupthink smell, do some digging of your own.

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 03

FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil - Through the Eyes of a Lermano

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By: Jorge Almeida, Brand Manager

Ever since I was a child, soccer – specifically the World Cup – has been a huge part of my life, my family, and my world. I can still remember the roller-coaster ride of emotions during previous World Cups. From France 1998, when I screamed and shouted during Mexico´s game vs. powerhouse Germany (where an upset almost happened), to tears and disappointment with Mexico´s sudden elimination in Korea/Japan 2002 against archrival USA in the Round of 16.

This past week, I was lucky enough to experience this magnificent event for myself in Brazil. Although I knew I was going to the World Cup for a great experience, I quickly realized there´s more to this global event than initially thought. I realized that this tournament isn’t just about the players or the sport. The World Cup is bigger than that.

Fútbolis the only sport that can bring together the masses, including a passionate American-born Mexican supporter (me), a Colombian wearing a “Rafa” Marquez jersey, a gentleman from the Faroe Islands (he had a map to show me where that country is), and an Argentinian who knew more Mexican slang than the majority of Mexicans.

Unlike the Super Bowl, the World Cup is about pride in your country. FIFA allows the world to come together every four years and give people reason to believe that their team can beat anyone. Even though football, baseball, hockey, and basketball have their own David-vs.-Goliath stories, unless it´s the Olympics, you´re not fervently cheering for the country you call home.

Cheering on your team is like confirming your identity and demonstrating your love for your roots. Soccer gives people a reason to abandon their day-to-day troubles and celebrate a beautiful game.

You can argue that it matters who wins and loses, but in the end, what matters most is coming together to celebrate. For 90 minutes, every soccer fan gets plugged into a different yet colorful and loud version of the Matrix – where anything can happen and the dreams of a whole nation can come true. And until your country’s team is dramatically kicked out of the World Cup (because you know if your team loses, it´s going to be dramatic), you can continue dreaming.

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Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jun 30

The Social Cup 2014

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By: Natalie Gover; Brand Planner

It comes but once every four years – that magical time when the entire world is watching every heart-pounding play, every blown call by the refs, and every breathtaking goal. The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been full of surprises (both bitter and sweet), and viewers are flooding Twitter with their commentary.

In a bid to make sense of it all – and predict the next World Cup champion – we teamed with Digiworks to bring you The Social Cup.

The Social Cup (social-cup.com) is a dynamic dashboard that captures worldwide World Cup excitement and conversation with the following widgets:

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Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jun 26

Our New Social Reality – Messaging Apps

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Messaging apps have been a trending topic lately. With new apps and communication platforms entering the market, it’s hard to keep track of important trends in our changing commercial communication landscape. 

Consumers are constantly bombarded by digital clutter, creating a more complex messaging channel for public relations, advertising, and marketing. This poses an important question: How do we get noticed without “intruding” in consumers’ daily conversations? It has become a day-to-day challenge that many brands and advertisers have been battling for the past few years. Think about it and observe the people around you. What do you see? 

People spend hours in front of multiple devices trying to stay connected. But exactly how many of them are using messaging apps? And how are these communication apps relevant to brands today? According to Advertising Age and The Richards Group Digital Digest, this mini-hub (messaging apps) is emerging as a powerful social platform. Why? Well, messaging apps are visually driven (video, text, drawing, voice messages, and icons), making content creation easier. And push notifications allow users to keep track of their notifications. However, my first impression with these messaging apps was that they were unnecessary. 

I was wrong. Messaging apps are not useless; on the contrary, they seemed to have gained popularity. The usage of these apps has increased between many Hispanic and non-Hispanic users. Constant communication is the norm, and as more people have international conversations, messaging apps have become the go-to platform. As I immersed myself in conversations with co-workers in Mexico City or with family in Zacatecas, I realized that messaging apps have become a bridge to stay connected. Messaging apps are rising as a huge driver for communication, and brands are trying to figure out how to use these platforms to engage with users. 

WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, and Line are just a few that are growing in this new communication hub.  Messaging apps are becoming more relevant to today’s socially connected consumer. Even popular social apps like Snapchat have opted to include a “message” option to its current picture-driven content. Jelly, an app released earlier this year, also uses a message-driven platform. Jelly users ask questions, and people within their network respond with a message. The Japanese messaging app LINE makes revenue by selling branded stickers. Yes, stickers! Who knew they would be so popular? And it is currently experimenting with e-commerce. 

But how are these messaging apps platforms changing brand communication? A recent study shows that messaging apps like WhatsApp are growing rapidly. WhatsApp is second only to world’s most popular social platform, Facebook, with 18% of mobile sharing activity among consumers. This is huge! The numbers might not seem great, but considering that a messaging app is surpassing Twitter, it’s a big step. It’s no surprise that Facebook decided to purchase WhatsApp. Our social communication landscape is shifting, and brands are trying to find out how to fit in. 

Words: Grisel Perez 

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Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jun 19

Eggs, Pancakes and Advertising?

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A great idea can happen to anyone. However, systematically thinking of great ideas that also solve clients’ marketing problems, within a specific social and economic context, requires not only talent and luck, but techniques, processes, and work methodology. Creating ideas is like cooking. In this creative workshop at our Mexico offices, we propose rethinking the creative process through exercises thought out like the process of a Master chef. Have fun.

- Guillermo Tragant 

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