By: Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
Adriana Cisneros calls her company’s Miss Venezuela franchise — the most watched event in Latin America — the region’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.

But as lucrative as the beauty pageant is for the Cisneros Group of Companies, it’s basically been a one-day event — until now.

This year, Cisneros’ Venevisión and Sony Entertainment Television launched a 13-week reality show, Miss Venezuela, Todo por la Corona(All for the Crown), that follows contestants leading up to the pageant and integrates P&G products into the story line. Locally, the show airs on Univisión.

“This is our first TV show that truly has a multimedia platform,’’ Cisneros, chief executive of the Cisneros Group, said Thursday at The Festival of Media Latam.

The conference, which continues Friday at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, drew more than 800 media, marketing and advertising professionals who are honing in on innovations like Cisneros’ Miss Venezuela brand extension that are changing the way Latin Americans communicate and buy products.

Presentations ranged from tapping into local social trends to sell products to wearable technology to the first-ever water billboard.

The latter — designed to advertise UTEC, a new technical and engineering university in Peru — has won worldwide accolades.

The billboard captures moisture from the air to produce drinking water that’s available from spigots at the bottom of the billboard.

“[Latin America] is a region that has punched above its weight in creativity,’’ said William Eccleshare, chief executive of Clear Channel Outdoor.

Not only has the billboard boosted student applications to UTEC and spurred interest in research collaborations, but the outdoor advertising provides potable water for people in the surrounding neighborhood who have no nearby source of running water.

“New technologies are designed to inspire human interaction and conversations,’’ said Huw Griffiths, an executive with New York-based IPG Mediabrands, which provides marketing solutions in more than 130 countries. “What is critical for brands today is to understand and become a part of that interaction.”

Advertising on digital platforms is growing in Latin America, said Cisneros. “We have to keep educating and pushing for it, but its time has come.’’

While it still makes sense for big companies to do major print campaigns, she said, digital platforms give advertisers the ability to experiment cheaply and get quick feedback.


UM, a division of IPG Mediabrands, used The Festival of Media to release its new study — Wave 7 — concerning social media use in Latin America.

UM Latin America surveyed 4,000 active Internet users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.

Colombia, UM found, is the most socially engaged with 95 percent of those who are active on the Internet hooking up with social media.

The smartphone is the device of choice for building relationships in Latin America. Sixty-six percent of respondents said it best helps them socialize.

Laptop/notebook ownership in these Latin American markets is up 42 percent since last year’s survey with an ownership rate of 77 percent among active Internet users.

Another emerging trend is multiscreen media consumption.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they used their smartphones while watching TV and 57 percent said they used their laptops in combination with television viewing.


Latin Americans also see social networks as places to boost their professional profiles, especially in Brazil. Brazilians are 30 percent more likely to say social media helps them with career-building and money-making opportunities.

Seventy-five percent of Colombian users say they have visited a professional networking site, compared with 60 percent of users globally.

And in Argentina, 61 percent of active Internet users say they use social media to promote themselves.

Internet privacy has been in the news recently with allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency engaged in cyber-surveillance to monitor the conversations of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In general, it’s a big issue for Latin Americans, according to the survey. Most concerned about the large amount of personal data online were Mexicans (74.9 percent) and Colombians (72.5 percent).