Telemundo Pitches Series on Mexican Baseball Player in Japan for Mazda

Telemundo is telling the story of a baseball player from Mexico playing in Japan to sell Japanese cars to Hispanic viewers.

The NBCUniversal unit has created for client Mazda an eight-episode documentary series called Al Bate! (Batter Up!) that features former Major League Baseball player Ramiro Peña, who is now an infielder for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.

The Spanish-language series will appear on starting July 25, accompanied with commercials introducing the new Mazda CX-5. The video’s web page will be co-branded by Telemundo and Mazda.

The launch of the series is being preceded by other Mazda marketing materials that will be streamed in Japanese in order to stand out to the site’s largely Spanish-speaking audience. In addition to, those Japanese materials appeared on Telemundo’s Novelas app and the network’s Facebook Page.

“Mazda came to us with their agency wanting a program that stayed true to their Japanese roots while also resonating with the Hispanic audience and really doing it in a way that’s relatable, drives an emotional response,” said Laura Molen, executive VP of advertising sales, Lifestyle Group and Telemundo Enterprises, at NBCU.

Molen says NBCU is using premium content to tell Peña’s immigrant story to Hispanic consumers, who want that content wherever they go and view digital media on mobile devices. “This is a way of giving them a different story that is not going to be on television,” she said.

Hispanic viewers are also very engaged with sports, and Telemundo research indicates that its viewers are more likely to talk about products they see advertised on the network.

“In our mission to better connect with the Hispanic community, we recognize the importance of developing meaningful content that will ultimately create a connection between the Hispanic community and the personality and passion of the Mazda brand,” said Russell Wager, VP of marketing for Mazda. “By partnering with Telemundo to create this mini-series, we are able to utilize its influence and credibility in the Hispanic community, and create authentic creative assets that are impactful to consumers.”

The campaign is designed to drive home awareness to Mazda’s Japanese legacy of perseverance, passion and attention to detail. Mazda says it aims to give drivers the spirit of Hashiru Yorokobi (Joy of Driving), a Japanese philosophy that makes Mazda unique, giving drivers the experience of being one with the vehicle.

The video series was created by Telemundo Enterprises Network Partnerships, a division of NBCU’s ad sales and client partnerships division.

The series was shot in Hiroshima and is designed to show fans how Peña’s passion for baseball has led him to Japan, where he is embracing that country’s people, food and traditions.

The video will get additional distribution support from NBCU’s Social Synch offering.

Mazda has been an advertiser on Telemundo. While there are no plans to air the video on TV at this point, Molen noted that “we look at the world in a way that things can go from digital to linear. And Telemundo has been very open to that in the past.”

Peña was born in Monterrey, Mexico. He was signed by the New York Yankees out of the Mexican League in 2005. He made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 2009 and played for the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants before moving to Japan this year.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.