“Imitación,” the latest spot in MLB’s acclaimed #PonleAcento (Put An Accent On It) campaign, began airing on ESPN, FOX and more September 15 (running through Hispanic Heritage Month). The timing could not be better for an homage to self-expression, imploring fans and players alike to retain their individuality. Created via LatinWorks, directed by Ricardo de Montreuil, and edited by Kevin Ray of Union Editorial Austin, “Imitación” combines game footage with original vignettes of kids mirroring the antics of their heroes on the field. “Imitación” circles back to the phenomenally successful core campaign, which drove Hispanic players to embrace their heritage by adding accents to their names on their jerseys. The accent graphic served as a metaphor for what Hispanics bring to the game.

A case study produced by the agency and cut by Union’s Skylar Moran, deftly illustrates the impact of the #PonleAcento campaign. Launched in 2016, its social media impressions exceeded 500 million. In 2017 alone, MLB "Ponle Acento" won the Grand Prix for Integrated Campaign at the Clio Sports awards (along with two Golds and a Silver), a Bronze Cannes Lion for  Social Engagement (and the Shortlist for Sports Integrated Campaign, and two One Show Merit Awards, among many other honors. In a sport where 27% of players are Hispanic, MLB’s #PonleAcento became a cultural movement that celebrities and fans alike joined by the millions, changing America’s pastime forever. 

“We wanted to evolve the campaign,” explained LatinWorks CD Alberto Calva, who wrote  “Imitación” with CD Morris Dávila, and who is part of an agency team that includes Executive Creative Director Gabriel García and Producer Chuy Hernández. “What’s the right way to play baseball? Across Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Mexico, nations and players bring a unique style to this great American pastime. Baseball enjoys a multicultural embrace unparalleled by any other sport.” 

Also unique is the collaboration between LatinWorks and Union, which dates back to 2011. At the time, the bicoastal post house did not yet have an outpost in Austin. “A creative director I went to ad school with wanted to bring Union on to help them with the newly acquired Chevy account,” recalled Partner/Executive Producer Rob McCool, who now oversees Union Editorial Austin. “That work snowballed into Union opening up a brick and mortar in December 2013 and we have been at our current location since the Summer 2014.” Union has since worked on all of the LatinWorks accounts, including Lowe's, Anheuser Busch, MARS, Target, Domino’s, Pantaya, Red Bull, Starbucks and Pepsi, to name just a few. Then, of course, there’s MLB, for whom Union has cut fifteen or so unique spots in the past three years.
“Ours is a great collaboration,” said Calva. “Kevin and Rob know the MLB brand very well, of course. But beyond that, we enjoy working with friends, in a familial atmosphere. Union’s Austin headquarters is homey, with a pool, and cookouts. It’s like a big house that happens to have edit bays.”

“Over time a lot of trust is developed, which is awesome for collaboration,” said Ray. “LatinWorks really let me play around and the sense of discovery with these spots was really rewarding. You can feel that the agency puts their hearts into the concepts, and that's contagious.” 

“Imitación” represents a departure from previous spots in the campaign. “Where the previous work was more anthemic, the new spot uses a child’s VO, which changes the tone and feel,” McCool observed. 

“‘Imitación’ shifts the campaign's gaze from the current to the future,” Ray added. “From a technical angle, the sheer volume of game footage that comes in can be intimidating. But you develop a knowledge of notable plays over time. Plus, where I’m more of a basketball guy, my wife is a big baseball fan, so she has helped me out.” 

For all involved, the impact of #PonleAcento has been immensely gratifying. “I was hoping it would take off,” said McCool. “I thought the idea definitely had legs but it needed social media and the players to respond the way they did. Sports are a big part of our culture and I think they have the ability to bring all sorts of people together. I think that’s happening right now, in the face of intentional divisiveness. This campaign highlights the diversity in baseball, and celebrates the impact of Latino fans and players alike.”

“#PonleAcento has changed the way I view the sport,” Ray concluded. “It means a lot of different things for different people, and that's kind of what makes it great. It's still ‘America's Pastime,’ but the definition of ‘American’ has changed as the sport has evolved. For the better.”

About Union
Union Editorial has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and London, where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors. The company also develops and produces original content, in partnership with Killer Content companies through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Platform, a creative and advertising solution for the gaming industry; and resolution, a visual effects boutique specializing in commercials, features and gaming.

Union is presided over by Partner/Managing Director Michael Raimondi in LA, Partner/Executive Producer Caryn Maclean in NY and Partner/Executive Producer Rob McCool in Austin. The Union roster is comprised of Partner/Editors Jim Haygood, Einar, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, and editors Christopher Huth, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Daniel Luna, Jason Lucas, Kevin Ray, Laura Milstein, Eric Argiro, Karen Kourtessis, Zach Kashkett, Andrew Doga, Paul Plew, Jinx Godfrey, Ben Longland and Nico Alba as well as select projects with Tim Thornton-Allen, Matt Chesse, John Mayes and the Marshall street roster.