Sep 26, 2023
CHEMISTRY’S MIKE VALDES-FAULI ON HYPING INTER MIAMI CF’S ‘FIRST DRAUGHT PICK’ IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HEINEKEN
By Mike Valdes-Fauli. Published on September 26, 2023.
Ad Age is marking Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 with our Honoring Creative Excellence package, in which members of the Hispanic community revisit some of their favorite creative projects. (Read the introduction here.) Today, guest editor Marissa Solis turns the spotlight to Mike Valdes-Fauli, COO of creative agency Chemistry and president of its multicultural division Chemistry Cultura, who writes about “engaging Miami’s diverse community with great respect and cultural nuance.”
In many ways, I’m an embodiment of what it means to be U.S. Hispanic. As the son of immigrant parents, I’m 50% Cuban (on my father’s side), 25% Mexican (on my mother’s) and 100% proud American. I’ve always appreciated the unique cocktail that is my birthright, and for that reason have dedicated my entire 22-year career to engaging the Latino community.
The marketing agency I lead is called Chemistry Cultura, where we work hard to recruit and retain the most diverse talent to service retainer clients such as Carnival Cruise Line, Comcast, Microsoft and the NFL. Since day one, our mantra has been to lead with insights, not stereotypes.
One of our longest-standing relationships is with Heineken. Although I’ve been proud of many collaborations with this valued partner, one in particular sticks out as an inflection point.
Inter Miami CF, the Major League Soccer club that recently exploded in popularity with the arrival of Lionel Messi, launched the expansion franchise only four years ago. Heineken is one of the most prominent sponsors of MLS across the country and one of the most international brands in the world, so it made sense for them to sponsor this exciting new team in a significant way.
Our agency was engaged to create buzz in the community about this partnership, but we faced the unique challenge of promoting a new team with no coach nor players on the roster. (As the old expression goes, “Smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors.”) Rather than view this as a shortcoming, we leaned into the novelty and positioned Heineken as the team’s “first draught pick,” playing with the double entendre and generating excitement across the city by unveiling the team’s first major announcement.
With tongue firmly in cheek, our campaign kicked off with a series of teaser videos creating dramatic mystery about who would be the team’s “first draught pick.” Our tactical plan included paid digital, organic social, influencer marketing, public relations and experiential. Each creative asset was adapted with original copywriting into three languages (English, Spanish and Haitian Creole) to respectfully engage Miami’s diverse ecosystem of fans-in-waiting.
Our efforts culminated with a major launch event attended by the team’s owner, Jorge Mas, Heineken CMO Jonnie Cahill, and VIP luminaries including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (and, until recently, a presidential candidate).
The results were massive, and so was our passion for helping Inter Miami on its trajectory to score big across South Florida, the MLS and beyond.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m proud of this campaign, but even more proud that our team engaged Miami’s diverse community with great respect and cultural nuance.
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