|Gerardo Llanes Álvarez|
Mexico Tourism Board (El Concejo de Promoción Turística de México)
“Passion” is a word frequently used to describe Gerardo Llanes as a businessman whose career has spanned management positions at major multinational consumer brand companies ranging from Coca-Cola to Kelloggs. Now as the Executive Director of Marketing for el Concejo de Promoción Turística de México, or the Mexico Tourism Board, he oversees the coordination, design and development of both national and international strategies for the tourism promotion of Mexico.
In 2013, he unveiled the country’s new campaign—“Mexico: Live It to Believe It.” (The organization will spend over USD $43 million promoting the country, and the ads are intended to be “unexpected, personal, surprising and emotional, with a focus on experience,” according to Llanes.) Mexico, like many countries, can be easily typecast by images of its past traditions. It can also be burdened by concerns about safety and security, which the Tourism Board addressed directly in its prior campaign, “Mexico. The place you thought you knew.”
However, the new campaign is positioned to change existing perceptions by depicting Mexico’s vibrant history and culture, combined with its sleek contemporary style and sophistication, while appealing to a more discerning traveler. (A far cry from “fly and flop” holidays, as Llanes affectionately characterizes the country’s famous beach vacations.)
Interestingly, past marketing efforts have promoted Mexico the Brand first, then Mexico plus the destinations. Now the destinations are the new stars-- Mexico City, Yucatan, Los Cabos, and a combined Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit-- and Mexico, as a country or concept, is secondary. A risk? Perhaps, but multi-cultural business executive and innate entrepreneurial spirit, Gerardo Llanes Álvarez possesses a strong background of proven global success in marketing, general management, and consulting with leading multinational companies. He has been a key contributor to over $297 million of international market, brand, business development, and earnings performance.
In 2001 he founded consulting firm BrandsLab, where he developed a proprietary branding model. As Principal and Strategic Development Director of BrandsLab, Llanes was responsible for taking a $200k budget and using it to drive over $40 million in sales. In 30 days, Llanes evaluated and implemented revisions to a Quaker campaign strategy resulting in $24 million in new sales and 62 percent growth.
Llanes has consulted and helped grow major companies like Prudential Financial, Unilever, Miller Brewing Company, Frito Lay, Coors, Quaker, and many others in Mexico, Latin America, and the United States. After beginning his career with McCann-Erickson, Llanes went on to hold management positions for companies including Coca-Cola and Kellogg. While at Kellogg, Llanes held several positions from new product manager to having full P&L responsibility for major operations in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and all the Caribbean Islands.
Gerardo Llanes Álvarez was born and raised in Mexico City and holds an MBA from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management in Arizona, USA, an