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Ruth Gaviria and Linda Ong

Executive vice president of corporate marketing, Univision Communications; President and brand strategist, TruthCo.

For expanding Univision's vision

Ruth Gaviria
Executive vice president of corporate marketing, Univision Communications

Linda Ong
President and brand strategist, TruthCo.

Last July, Univision issued a press release satirically addressed to ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, with the subject "Número Uno Is the New #1." For the first time, the 21-year-old Hispanic network had beaten the major broadcast networks in prime-time ratings for the 18-to-34 and 18-to-49 demographics. The rebranding and revitalization of Univision as the "Hispanic heartbeat of America" is largely the work of Linda Ong, who runs Brooklyn-based branding firm TruthCo., and Univision's Ruth Gaviria. When Ong was hired by Univision in 2011, she says her first mission was to push the network "to envision themselves outside their traditional competitive set of Spanish-language networks, and recognize that they deserved to compete with the English-language media." The pair have also helped the brand reach out to second and third-generation Hispanics by introducing some English language content, launching the Uforia digital music imprint, and rebranding the telenovela-and-sports-focused TeleFutura channel as UniMás, with programming that more clearly differentiates it from the parent network. Throughout the process, says Gaviria, "we learned that we had more permission from our consumers for innovation than we thought."