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Countrywide Goes Reality TV -- Latin Style

Lender cosponsors Telemundo's "Lo Dejo en Tus Manos"

April 8, 2005

By PAULA PARISOT


In its efforts to reach the Hispanic market, Countrywide Home Loans has capitalized on the reality TV craze.

Television reality shows fair well when it comes to ratings; so why not use them to market oneself or product. Daniel Rodimer, loan originator contended in the WWF for a $1 million dollar prize and mortgage broker Jeannetta Standefor showed off her "flipping" skills for a cable network home makeover contest.

Now, Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide is using the new television trend as a platform to reach its Spanish-speaking market.

The mortgage banker cosponsored the home makeover reality show Lo Dejo en Tus Manos (I'm Leaving It in Your Hands) on Telemundo, a U. S. Spanish-language network.

Countrywide's VP of Multicultural Markets Rodolfo Saenz said the campaign is designed to educate Spanish-speaking viewers on the process of qualifying and obtaining a home loan while capturing their attention with a makeover of one of the rooms in the home or a new outside landscape design.

"We have tips on becoming a homeowner (during the show)," Saenz explained. "They learn how to go about getting a home loan."

"Countrywide was looking for a way to communicate with the Hispanic community and found that Telemundo was just finishing (the season's lineup)," Saenz told MortgageDaily.com, "and they were looking for sponsors -- we were lucky to find this type of project."

Saenz said aside from the financial sponsorship Countrywide is also conducting an essay competition and $10,000 sweepstakes which ends this month. Entrants will vie for the prize money by expressing what homeownership means to them and why it is relevant in their life, Saenz said.

On the Feb. 6 episode, a Countrywide representative appeared on the show and gave tips to those looking to buy a home. The appearance was prompted by a call from the program's host when the designer chosen to lead the episode's remodeling project told him she was interested in buying a new home, but hadn't done so because she didn't how.

The company said in a recent press release that the sponsorship of the show is part of the "Faciliitando Suenos" television and radio advertising campaign it launched in June 2004.

Network sales executive Steve Mandala said that Telemundo was very pleased with the results of the home improvement reality show and that they hoped Countrywide would be involved when they bring the show back next season.

"It has had some of the highest ratings for a weekend daytime (slot)," Mandala told MortgageDaily.com. "We have had very good luck with it; the audience responded well, and the clients loved it."

Countrywide spokeswoman Janet Quan said the company's continued involvement with the network is under evaluation.


Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for MortgageDaily.com. In addition to 4 years' journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: [email protected]



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