Ads Targeting Hispanics Finally Lose Their Bad 'StacheWith $1.2 trillion in spending at stake, quality and authenticity are necessary 5/07/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Many media buying agency executives
can recall the days when
clients submitted TV commercials
to air on Spanish-language networks that
were either exact duplicates of those shot for
English-language nets—only with poorly done
Spanish voice-over dubbings—or spots filmed
with English-speaking actors sporting exaggerated,
under the assumption that facial
hair would make them look like
the Hispanic males the messages
Those days are long gone. Today,
there are more than 50 million
Hispanics living in the U.S.
who spend about $1.2 trillion
per year on consumer goods
While there are many national
advertisers that are not trying
to reach Hispanic consumers via
Spanish-language TV networks, the marketers
that are seem to realize that pandering to
stereotypes and making half-hearted attempts
to reach that audience with poor-quality commercials
is not going to win consumers over.
Joe Zubi, CEO of Miami-based Zubi Advertising,
one of the largest independent mutlicultural
agencies in the country, says more clients today
are also tuning in to the cultural differences between
Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers,
realizing that their brands need to reflect the
discrepancies if they want to properly target the
Hispanic consumer. “When promoting certain
types of trucks to a non-Hispanic audience, the
truck might be seen as a leisure, recreational
vehicle. But for a Hispanic family, it might be
seen as a work-related vehicle,” Zubi offers as an
example. “The commercial has to reflect that.”
More and more marketers are not only
shooting separate commercials for Spanish-language
TV audiences, but they are using
Hispanic actors and celebrity endorsers and filming commercials with cultural sensibilities
that reach that target audience in different
ways than they do English-speaking viewers.
Marketers looking to save a bit on production
costs often film commercials for English- and
Spanish-language television at the same
time, shooting different scenes with different
ethnic casting, music and voice-overs, according
to an executive at Univision who did not
want to speak for attribution. This process can
also save advertisers time and allow them to
air both versions of commercials concurrently.
In addition to using authentic ethnic casting
in commercials for Hispanic TV, Univision
also sees a trend where some major marketers
and their creative agencies are working closely
with Hispanic networks to develop research
that helps uncover insights into producing
more meaningful creative commercials targeting
In some instances, marketers and their agencies
are even integrating Hispanic consumer insights
and sensibilities into their general-market
creative campaigns, so that they can develop a
single campaign that works and targets both
Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences.
About 70% of commercials currently airing
on Hispanic television are produced specifically for that audience, with the other 30%
adapted in some way, according to the Univision
exec. The 70% represents the highest
amount of original commercial programming
ever produced for Hispanic TV in viewers’ native
language by advertisers.
There are even some instances where the
Hispanic creative agency can be the lead shop
for both the Spanish- and English-language
commercials, which is currently the case for
McDonald’s Smoothies commercials.
Working toward that greater sense of quality,
Univision will not accept dubbed
commercials if there is an obvious
lack of proper lip-syncing, or
if the Spanish dialogue is not used
in proper context.
Monica Gadsby, CEO of Starcom
MediaVest Group Multicultural,
chuckles when she thinks back
about 15 years, when American
marketers were only beginning to
discover Spanish-language television.
“It was very stereotypical,”
Gadsby recalls. “Commercials using
the grandmother as head of the
household and using non-Hispanic actors with
big, droopy moustaches to represent Spanish
looking men. Those stereotypes are very less
prevalent today. The clients and their agencies
all have a better understanding of what is relevant
to this audience. Today, the message defines the commercial—not the look.”
Gadsby sees more experimentation going
on with Hispanic TV commercials today, with
some major advertisers and their agencies creating
ads in Spanish that are airing on both
English- and Spanish-language networks. And
there are also commercials with 100% Hispanic
casts shot in English and airing on English-language
networks. That, Gadsby says, is because
many more English-speaking Hispanics are
watching English-language television.
In some cases, a desire to reach this multicultural audience has resulted in large advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Ford and Walmart working with multi-creative agencies, Gadsby says. Clients will even issue a brief on campaign goals to each of the agencies, with a final plan being hatched through working with all of them. "There is more of a mandate by the clients today that their agencies work together as a team," she says.
Steven Wolfe Pereira, executive VP of MediaVest's multicultural media and marketing unit MV42°, says Hispanic ad sales represent the main revenue growth driver for many of his agency's clients, adding that they "can no longer use a cheap way to address such an important community." Pereira says every one of his clients has an Hispanic creative agency.
Pereira says today the Spanish-language networks are more than willing to use their ad and marketing research departments to help clients gain insight into the consumers they are trying to reach. And, he says, commercials can be bolstered by product integration deals offered in novelas by both Telemundo and Univision, and that deals can also be worked out where network talent can make appearances as part of brand promotions.
Both Pereira and Zubi say there is still room for growth by marketers producing more commercials in Spanish.
"There is a tremendous upside still," Zubi says. "Among the top 500 brands, less than half are targeting Hispanic consumers and way less than that are running TV spots."
Breaking it down further, Pereira says among those advertisers currently running commercials on English-language television, only about one-third are advertising on Spanish-language networks. "The marketers who aren't are missing the boat," he says.