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Gonzales Enjoys Negotiating in Any Language

Oct 8, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Spanish-language television has been hot for the past few years, and that’s made Danielle Gonzales’ job both more fun and more challenging.
As senior VP and managing director for Tapestry, the Starcom MediaVest Group’s multicultural unit, Ms. Gonzales has been the agency’s lead broadcast negotiator with Univision and Telemundo for the past seven years.
During that time, research on Spanish-language television has become more sophisticated and the networks have been acquired by companies with more traditional media know-how.
“It’s been a complete evolution,” says Ms. Gonzales, who buys based on the same C3 commercial ratings most of the industry uses rather than the numbers based on a special Hispanic sample used a few years ago.
“I think we’re one of the only agencies that have done that,” she says.
With more general-market TV executives moving into sales positions at the Hispanic networks, she says, negotiations turn less on emotion and more on rational arguments than they did a few years back.
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” Ms. Gonzales says. “Sometimes, drama’s fun.”
The give and take of negotiating is something she says she relishes.
“I love buying. I love the game of it. I know it drives some people crazy, but to me it’s very fun,” she says. “I think through my strategy and I have step one, step two, step three and just the human dynamic of it. It’s the one piece of our business or our world that it still kind of matters sometimes if you’re face to face. It makes a big difference and I like that.”
Ms. Gonzales has hammered out some notable deals, including an unprecedented three-year, $100 million multiplatform buy on Univision for Miller Brewing.
The three-year deal gave the client “a very large pricing advantage,” she says, plus it allowed Miller to leverage its World Cup soccer sponsorship over all of Univision’s media assets.
Ms. Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas, and studied advertising at the University of Texas.
“I was trying to decide between research and media. I think I have an analytical mind and love the math side of it, and that’s what drew me to media,” she says.
She was recruited by Leo Burnett Media—now Starcom—and has been in Chicago for 13 years. She started her career in general media, working on the Philip Morris account, but had a friend working in the multicultural unit under Monica Gadsby, now CEO.
“She seemed like a good person to work for, so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll try your group,’” Ms. Gonzales says. “She’s really an amazing person. I think that’s one of the reasons I haven’t left.”
Ms. Gonzales’ other talent is that she’s a clothing designer and seamstress. Most of her designs she wears herself, but she has also been known to create costumes and bridesmaids’ dresses. But with three small children at home, she doesn’t get as much opportunity to make clothes as she once did.
She and her husband have two boys, ages 4 and 2, and a 6-month-old daughter to keep them busy. They like to take them to Chicago’s parks and visit the city’s museums.
Ms. Gonzales also enjoys cooking and likes to look for interesting recipes. “I’m always trying something new,” she says.
One recent meal was a Mexican dish called Chilaquillas, a casserole she makes with eggs, chicken, tortillas and salsa.
“I try to teach my family about their roots, so we try to do a lot of things that are Mexican tradition,” she says.
Who knew? Ms. Gonzales met her husband while they were both working for McDonald’s, and not at corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. It was in Texas, and “I was in front of the counter and he was in the back cooking. That’s how we met,” she says. “We dated all through college and got married.”

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