How to Win Gold in Hispanic Advertising


Aug 01, 2012 - by Camila
How to Win Gold in Hispanic Advertising

*This post is part of a series that takes a closer look at advertising in the massive, and still-growing, Hispanic sector.

Like Gladys Tejeda from Peru who’s competing in the Olympics this year (when she didn’t even know what they were four years ago), the sport of Hispanic advertising is relatively new, but it’s game time. Now, more than ever before.

Think you can afford to sit on the sidelines? Still not sure this is an arena you can play in? If you still think so after reviewing the following facts, I can’t be sure you’re in the business of winning.

  • The prize is part of a $1 trillion pie, expected to climb to $1.5 trillion by 2015
  • If Hispanic Americans were a sovereign nation, they would have the world’s 9th largest economy
  • Hispanic Americans have a median age of 27, as opposed to 42 among non-Hispanic whites
  • 9 out of 10 under the age of 18 were born in the U.S., and 40% of these describe themselves as English dominant, with most of the rest describing themselves as bilingual
  • Hispanic Americans are shaping culture as we know it: the highest paid TV actress in 2012 was the lovely Sofia Vergara, with Eva Longoria claiming the third spot on Forbes' list
  • 59% of adult Hispanic Millenials were born in the U.S.
  • In the next few years, Hispanics will make up more than 80% of the growth in the 18-29 age group

(Sources: Forbes Online, Bercovici/Pomerantz; Forbes Online, Casserly; Hispanic Business, Villaneda)

What's that? NOW you want to win big? Oh, I guess I must have caught your attention, and rightfully so. For starters, you’ve got to play if you want to win. Last I checked, cheerleading or sitting idly in the audience was not a decorated sport. Long a spectator sport, the competition is heating up.

Before setting foot on the field, though, it’s important you know the rules. While some of the rules are still being formulated, the following are a few good guidelines to play by:

  • This is not a sport of brute force. Stale tactics of showmanship and selling product attributes will not work here. Think of this more as a courtship; you must acknowledge them and show that you believe in their purchasing power, that their voice matters and that your brand can help them live the life they choose; encourage their values and allow them to embrace their heritage through an extension of your brand. Great examples of this are Southwest’s new campaign, “Connect for Real”, aimed at reconnecting families (a very important part of Latin culture) and Coca Cola's "Luchando Juntos", also emphasizing connectedness.
    (Source: Hispanic Ad; Hispanic Ad)
  • Don’t keep score. At least, not yet. While there are points awarded for execution and technique, a lot of your efforts won’t yield an immediate return. You must empower the value of Hispanic heritage over the long term (and not just during Hispanic Heritage Month); measure ROI with a longer-term objective, as this is a whole new ball game. The time is now to invest in this audience, for the long run.
  • There is no one single strategy that will ensure victory. Just as there is no particular training program that will work for all athletes or sports, the game of Hispanic marketing is different for each competitor. As the largest immigrant group to exhibit significant sustainability of their culture, you must create culturally relevant content and messaging, as the Hispanic consumer is looking to build brand loyalty with a brand that properly represents their values, voices and authentic identity.
    (Source: Forbes Online, Llopis)

Now that you know the rules, let’s talk about the events. Think about this sport as a heptathlon; you must be able to compete in several events successfully to come out on top here. The events are varied, but the strategy must be consistent throughout (see above).

  1. Pin to win! Latinos are not early adopters, but fast adopters when it comes to social media. In one year, penetration has grown twice as quickly among Latinos as the general market (up 8,506% in the last twelve months). This digital space also lacks a lot of cultural content currently, so companies offering bicultural content (think recipes, ideas, music, etc) will do well here. Pinterest is a great way to incite the conversation Latinos long for. Consider a Pin to Win contest, or ask your followers to pin pictures of themselves interacting with your brand. Latinos love to share and consult with their friends before making purchases, and Pinterest is the perfect platform for this.
    (Source: ClickZ, Razzetti)
  2. Create original, branded content. As I mentioned earlier, almost 60% of Hispanic Millenials were born here and as cultural chameleons, often feel TOO “Americanized” and are looking for ways to better connect with their roots. A brand that has done very well here is MiTú.
    (Source: NPR Online, Sydell)
  3. Speak their values, not their language. As I mentioned in "Marketing to Hispanics: Lost in Translation", the vehicle for reaching the Latino audience is more dependent on the values expressed and not in what language they’re communicated. Don’t assume your Univision media buy, or conversely your general market ad, necessarily reach the Hispanic target. “There must be value in ‘in-culture’ English-language media,” says Carmen Torres of 22Squared. Make sure you’re presenting the right content first, then choose the media second. “Latinos have a tendency to put content preferences first and language second…Spanish language media is no longer the exclusive territory for reaching Hispanic consumers that now straddle across media and language.; it’s less about language and more about relevant content."
    (Source: Portada Online)
  4. Show, don’t tell. Companies can say all they want about valuing the Hispanic audience, but offering a less satisfactory experience for Spanish-speaking viewers on your site is unacceptable. Show them you value their business by offering an aesthetically pleasing, fully functional Spanish version of your site. As Whiteman says, “Domestic Spanish-speakers online represent the lowest-hanging fruit for U.S. based retailers [and] we typically see higher conversion rates…because they’ve historically been so underserved [and] react very well when they experience a world-class website in Spanish.”
    (Source: Fox News Latino, Kutchera)
  5. Take a chance! NewsCorp is debuting their new Spanish language broadcast network, MundoFox, this August, and my initial feeling is that it will do very well because they’re aiming to fill the gap that has long plagued Spanish-language TV. I’ll be the first to admit that I turn to English-language shows more often than not because of the variety and higher quality of programming, but not necessarily because it’s in English (and 61% of 18-29 year old Hispanic viewers are right there with me).With MundoFox’s arrival and introduction of more sophisticated, higher budget shows (like El Capo, a gritty thriller about a drug cartel) more similar to English shows like 24 or House the competition heats up. The network seeks to appeal to both men and women, avoiding the pitfall of telenovelas, which mostly draw a female audience. MundoFox is not the only new entrant. With new channels like El Rey (premiering in 2013) and Univision trying its hand at an English channel (in partnership with ABC), the market is widening, and now is the time to get your foot in the door.
    (Sources: Insight Tr3s; Ad Age, Steinberg; Forbes Online, Bercovici/Pomerantz; Business Wire)

Heed this advice and you're much more likely to win with the Hispanic audience. Like the Olympics, an opportunity like this doesn’t present itself all too often, so go out there and give it your best shot!


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