Hispanic TV Summit: Post Foods, Jencarlos Canela 'Think Positively'

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New York -- Post Foods senior director of marketing Tony Shurman says the company's Honey Bunches of Oats branded promotion featuring Telemundo star Jencarlos Canela on 4 million boxes far exceeded expectations. Canela, though, says Post owes at least half of the sales to his mother.

Hispanic TV Summit - Canela

"I got home and I was like, 'Mom, what is this?' There were cereal boxes all over the place...I asked her, ‘What are you going to do with all these cereal boxes?'" Canela joked during a presentation here at the ninth annual Hispanic Television Summit on Sept. 20.

Featuring customized versions of Canela's music, in-show integrations and a sweepstakes to win a trip to Miami for a private concert, the promotion boosted market share for Post Foods' Honey Bunches of Oats by more than 35%. The lift helped the brand tie Honey Nut Cheerios as the No. 1 cereal in the U.S. Hispanic market.

The promotion was called "Pensemos Positive" (Think Positively), a message that was inspired by Canela himself. Shurman recalled seeing Canela sign his name with the message, and the promotion was a natural fit for both parties, given that Honey Bunches of Oats "stands for positivity and optimism."

Jencarlos said that message is a fundamental idea of his way of life and the "drama" that is prevalent in Hispanic television is not how he lives. Although a star of Mas Sabe el Diablo, he said, the content on Hispanic television isn't "quite there yet."

"As a young Hispanic American -- frankly sometimes you want to change the channel. We don't identify with that much suffering," Canela said. "There is a little gap that needs to be closed. It's just about the content we're producing. We need to stay present -- not only to the generation of our parents, but tap into the young generation."

The campaign marked the first promotion of its kind for Post Foods. The Hispanic market has not been the brand's target demo (Post aims at women 25 to 49), so the promotion was "a little bit risky," according to Shurman.

Shurman mentioned that although the Hispanic consumer isn't a key demo, Post nonetheless consistently overindexes with the Hispanic market.

"This was a huge part of our plan this year, and we will continue to invest in the Hispanic opportunities...It's a growing percentage," Shurman said of Post's Hispanic ad spending.