2009 PRemio Award Honorees

Professional Awards

Category: PR Practitioner of the Year

Honoree: Roxana Lissa, CEO and Founder of RL Public Relations + Marketing, Partner Sportivo
Summary: Frequently recognized as an industry pioneer, Roxana Lissa founded RL Public Relations in 1996 to fill a void in the emerging Hispanic marketing industry. La Opinion –the nation’s leading Hispanic daily – acknowledged her vision when it placed her on the cover of its business section that same year. Roxana specializes in Hispanic thought leadership, strategy and counsel, and is recognized in the Hispanic PR field as a visionary and mentor to many.

Since its inception, RL Public Relations has shown impressive growth, due in large part to Roxana’s results-driven work ethic, which has been infused into the company’s culture. In 1996, The Wall Street Journal featured the agency’s groundbreaking, bi-cultural teen campaign for the California Milk Processor Board (Got Milk?), legitimizing the importance of the Latino audience.

In 2003, the agency opened a New York office and launched sports marketing arm Sportivo, and in 2008 the agency started offering its clients social media services. Due to its focus on strategy, creativity and results, the agency has also been called upon to provide general market PR services to a number of clients. Today RLPR is the largest independently-owned Hispanic PR agency in the United States, boasting a talented team of more than 25 PR professionals and an impressive roster of clients including the California Milk Processor Board (Got Milk?), the National Honey Board, General Mills, Verizon Wireless, Nike, Heineken, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and more.

Roxana began her career in the U.S. at Cooper Communications Inc., a San Fernando Valley-based firm. Prior to launching RL Public Relations, Roxana was deputy director of the Hispanic Communications Division for Hill & Knowlton Los Angeles.

A native of Argentina, Roxana earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Universidad Argentina de la Empresa where she graduated with honors. Her post-graduate work has included courses at the University of California, Los Angeles and numerous seminars in the areas of public relations, advertising, marketing and management.

Roxana was honored in PR Week’s first 40 under 40 issue, and she serves frequently as a guest speaker and is an Advisory Council member of the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA). Deeply committed to the community, Roxana and the agency contribute to a variety of community organizations. Her children, Andreas and Sienna, are her pride and joy.

Category: Journalist of the Year

Abe.jpgHonoree: Abelardo de la Peña, Co-founder and Editor of LatinoLA.com and contributor to national thinktank, Iconoculture
Summary: Abelardo de la Peña, Jr. has carved a niche for himself as a journalist by trade who “connects the Latino community.” De la Peña uses the social media arena to keep Latinos in the Southland informed as a speaker, blogger, author and editor and founder of LatinoLA.com, a website dedicated to cover Southern California’s Latino art, entertainment, culture and community.

A native of Southern California, de la Peña was born in Long Beach and raised in Wilmington. In 1999, he launched LatinoLA.com to fill the media gap within the English language preferred Latino community.
What began as an email newsletter centralizing the scattered Latino community events in Los Angeles, eventually evolved into LatinoLA.com. The website’s mission is to serve as the voice of the Latino community via self-submitted, user-generated content from readers, including news articles, commentaries, opinion, poetry, short stories, first person observations, and a calendar of events of Latino-oriented music, theatre, poetry, movies, dances, parties, health
fairs, etc.

De la Peña is also a consumer trend expert and multicultural insider with an innate ability for processing information to interpret consumer trends and insights. As a lead expert on Latino movements across acculturations and generations for Iconoculture, a leading global consumer research and advisory company for comprehensive consumer insights, de la Peña reports and interprets insights gleamed from constant communication from consumers, media sources, thought leaders, and expert advisors.

De la Peña worked as professional photographer for eight years, while freelancing as a writer for Los Angeles Times, La Opinion, and Hispanic Business magazine. He became a PR pro in 1985, first with Kaiser Permanente, then MALDEF as National Director of Communications; Durazo Communications; VPE Public Relations; California Hospital Medical Center; and cruz/kravetz: IDEAS. He was also PR/marketing consultant for CIGNA Healthcare and other national brands.

De la Peña went to Harbor Community College, Art Center College of Design, Cal State Dominguez Hills and graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. De la Peña is married to his high school sweetheart, has six children and is a grandfather of six. He is presently working on a more technologically advanced version of LatinoLA with plans to launch similar websites in Latino cities throughout the U.S.

Category: Corporation of the Year

Honoree: McDonald’s® Corporation
Summary: McDonald’s has a proven track record not only as the world’s largest foodservice company, but also as the country’s leading partner with the Hispanic community. In the areas of education, marketing, vendors/suppliers, employment and more, McDonald’s sets the standard for corporate responsibility. The company’s contributions to the U.S. Hispanic market is exemplified, among others, in the following areas:

Since 1985, McDonald’s has made a significant commitment and contribution toward the cause of helping Hispanic students graduate from college by supporting the RMHC®/HACER® Scholarship Program (Ronald McDonald House Charities/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources). RMHC/HACER has awarded more than $19.1 million to nearly 13,000 graduating high school students since its inception.

For the past three years, McDonald’s has joined forces with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to present a series of college education workshops. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund aims to provide students and parents with valuable information on how to pay for college. Tips and resources are shared at the workshops held at high schools across the country. The free bilingual college workshops also feature presentations by college experts that are designed to provide essential college knowledge to actively engage, excite, and motivate them to consider college as a viable option.

McDonald’s has one of the highest percentages of Hispanics in top management positions at 12 %. Top executives include Ralph Alvarez, President; Gloria Santona, General Counsel and Senior Vice President; and J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, President, McDonald’s Latin America. The McDonald’s Hispanic Employee Network provides career development training for McDonald’s employees to move up the corporate ladder. In addition, Hispanic crews at many of the country’s 14,000 restaurants receive free English-language and other career development courses.

The McDonald’s Hispanic Owner/Operators Association (MHOA) is the country’s largest organization of Hispanic franchisees with 269 members who operate 900 restaurants in 35 states with revenues of almost $2 billion.

In addition, MacDonald’s utilizes more Hispanic suppliers than any other coporation, Major suppliers include Lopez Foods (beef and sausage) in Oklahoma; Gaviña Coffee in Los Angeles; and Reyes Brothers (transportation) in Chicago.

Campaign Winners

Category: Non-Profit

Agency: Revolución (New York)
Client: American Heart Association

Summary: To increase awareness of heart disease prevention among Latinas in New York City, Revolución’s campaign for the American Heart Association presented the unique concept of combining musical theater to deliver the campaign’s message with New York City Spanish-language radio station Amor 93.1 FM as a media partner. Partnering with the Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights, the campaign, Hearts in the Heights, was part of eight consecutive performances, nearly 10,000 audience members received the Heart Association’s bilingual messaging through a curtain speech by the Broadway cast; distribution of heart attack warning signs; branded lobby signage; an American Heart Association video loop at the box office; and premium giveaways. A total of 23.5MM media impressions were generated.

Category: Integrated Marketing Communications

Agency: Bromley Communications (Houston)
Client: Western Union

Summary: As the 2009 banking and real estate collapse was top of mind among consumers in the States and abroad, Western Union set out to depict the tremendous power and impact money transfers have in the lives of people around the world. In collaboration with Bromley Communications, the global money transfer giant partnered with a popular Hispanic TV personality, Ana Maria Canseco, to tour the country and capture human interest Western Union testimonials, reality-style. Across five cities, in five weekends, brand ambassadors completed 800 consumer intercepts and Canseco conducted 33 media interviews, which generated 59.41 million.

Category: Healthcare

Agency: EuroRSG (Pittsburg)
Client: Transition’s Optical

Summary: To strengthen Transition’s Optical leadership within the Hispanic marketplace, Euro PR launched a campaign that included the development of several new Hispanic-focused resources and education and extensive outreach to the trade media. Euro PR helped Transition form solid partnerships with known industry organizations interested in focusing on the Hispanic market and executed a well-received, widely-covered multicultural roundtable event, which opened the door to partnerships outside of the optical industry in the general health care sector.

Category: Corporate Media Event

Agency: RL Public Relations
Client: Heineken Green Ribbon

Summary: As Heineken USA’s Hispanic Agency of Record, RLPR is tasked each year with developing a compelling Hispanic PR campaign around Heineken’s sponsorship of the Latin GRAMMYS. For the 2008 awards, the team reinvigorated the Heineken Green Ribbon program, which provides funding to music education programs and Latino artists. Four-time Latin GRAMMY award winning group, Banda El Recodo, was chosen as the official Heineken Green Ribbon Ambassadors. RLPR implemented a two-phase media process that involved the Green Ribbon Ambassadors and Houston’s Hispanic community. RLPR ultimately achieved its objective of securing Heineken branded coverage in connection to the Latin GRAMMYs, as well as raising awareness regarding the Green Ribbon program.

Category: Public Education

Agency: VPE Public Relations
Client: McDonald’s RMHC/HACER Scholarship

Summary: McDonald’s initiated the Steps for Success College Workshops as an extension of its 24-year commitment to helping Hispanics attain their college dreams. VPE Public Relations conducted the program in partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and consisted of free bilingual workshops in 11 major Hispanic markets that attracted approximately 10,000 students and their parents. Other elements of the program included a national media tour with college prep expert Mariela Dabbah that generated an estimated 26 million impressions and a new education page on McDonald’s Hispanic website. McDonald’s RMHC/HACER scholarship Program has awarded more than $19.1 million to nearly 13,000 Hispanic students since 1985.

Category: Food and Beverage

Agency: RL Public Relations
Client: Honey Nut Cheerios “Delicioso y Saludable”

Summary: With Hispanics being one of the groups most vulnerable to heart disease and high cholesterol, General Mills sought to reach Hispanics with a message that Honey Nut Cheerios are “Delicioso y Saludable”. The “Desayuna con Juan Soler” sweepstakes, devised by RLPR, engaged Latinas – the gatekeepers to Hispanic pantries and health. The fully-integrated program included a Web site, product packaging and advertising – as well as public relations and blogger relations. 4,800 entries were received, and the campaign yielded more than 155 stories that reached 35 million Latinos with the Honey Nut Cheerios Heart Health message.

Category: Non-Profit Media Event

Agency: The Axis Agency /Weber Shandwick (Miami). Client: U.S. Army’s Miami

Summary: Recruiting Battalion In support of the U.S. Army’s Miami Recruiting Battalion’s goal to generate greater awareness and interest within South Florida’s 18-34 year-old bilingual audience, Axis-Weber Shandwick executed a high-impact media event with a top-rated Univision Radio morning show with popular morning DJs on air and live onsite pre-event “preparations” and tandem jump with the Army’s elite Golden Knights skydive team. The pre-jump publicity, two consecutive day live morning show broadcasts from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and intense post event social media outreach had a significant impact on Hispanic Soldier interest and enlistment.

Category: Sports

Agency: Formulatin (New York)
Client: Tecate Premios Deportes

Summary: When a leading Mexican beer and the No. 1 Hispanic network in the country joined forces to launch the inaugural “Tecate Premios Deportes” sports awards show, Tecate turned to FORMULATINundefinedits Agency of Record since 2007undefinedto develop a program that would help create buzz and excitement for the show while aligning Tecate with leading Hispanic athletes and generating coverage for the brand. FORMULATIN’s PR efforts generated 277 placements in a two-month time period, an ad value equivalent of $2.6 million and 34:1 return on investment.

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