El Mundo turns printed 'jerseys' into revenue
Posted: 4/11/2013  |  By: Nu Yang
For newspapers, sporting events are a huge opportunity to drive up revenue, and one Spanish-language paper has capitalized in a unique way — origami soccer jerseys.  

During the 2010 World Cup series, El Mundo marketed its print product to enthusiastic soccer fans and created the jerseys as a way to connect the local Hispanic community with advertisers. Located in Kirkland, Wash., El Mundo is published every Thursday with a free circulation of 20,000. President and chief executive officer Gustavo Montoya, along with his sister and publisher, Martha Montoya, purchased the paper in 2008.  

Gustavo said the Hispanic market in Washington is scattered, stretching from the Seattle area to the eastern side of the state. “There are 1,400 points of distribution over 15 counties,” he said.  

Before they became newspaper owners, Gustavo worked in technology and Martha illustrated cartoon strips, but both of them knew the challenges the newspaper industry faced. Their parents were educators in Colombia, and Gustavo said owning the newspaper is a way for “their legacy to continue” and for them to “understand the needs of their community.”  

“We saw a high demand for the print form,” Gustavo said. “But it was frustrating to try to reach out to mainstream advertisers to have them listen to the pitch we were trying to sell.” He said many of his frustrations stemmed from a readership that demanded print, but an industry that was quickly marching toward digital.  

Gustavo and Martha decided to show advertisers firsthand why they should invest in the print product, and the duo approached Comcast with a proposal that would strengthen both the newspaper as well as the cable provider’s brand.  

The interactive print origami soccer jerseys were a perfect match, Gustavo said.  

Martha said the unfolded jersey consisted of a full-page ad (front and back), which included a front banner, a half-page ad in the back (visible even on the folded jersey), and a logo.  

The promotion ran for 16 weeks and highlighted each of the 32 soccer teams playing in the World Cup. Readers were able to send in the origami jerseys representing the two teams they thought would be in the finals. Correct submissions were entered in a raffle to win a free television. Two winners were selected.  

Gustavo said the paper’s goal was to prove that publishing can be creative, and prove to advertisers that there is value in getting their brand name into the hands of readers. “We accomplished our goal, and we were able to put us in the spotlight,” he said.  

El Mundo has since received recognition from the National Association of Hispanic Publications for the origami jersey promotion. According to Martha, El Mundo also owns the patent, and they have sold the rights to a few other papers that have gone on to introduce the project into their own market.  

“We’ve seen great interest in other sports like baseball and basketball,” Gustavo said. “And the World Cup is coming up again in 2014.”