How Advertising to the American Latinx Community Has Changed


Latinos accounted for more than half of the population growth in the United States and the population now represents almost 19% of the total population of the country, according to the 2020 US Census data released last month. However, only 6% of the marketing industry’s investment goes to the Hispanic community, according to the Hispanic Marketing Council.

But while the amount marketers spend on demographics hasn’t changed much, what has changed is how they spend it.

“I started [in the multicultural advertising industry] back in the mid ’90s and back then when you pitched to clients, you brought your census numbers and you showed your clues to the market in general, ”said Sandra Alfaro, executive vice president and managing partner of the culture-first agency 305 Worldwide. “Today, it’s not about convincing them that they have to do it. The conversation shifted to “How to do it most effectively?” How to do it responsibly? How do we measure it? “

Beyond measurement, there has also been increasing sophistication in the way marketers approach the Latinx community – bringing specialist agencies upstream into the conversation, using the data to target by interests within. demography, by reshaping creative approaches and media choice, and even by recasting the nickname “multicultural” into “intercultural”.

Review the labels

Alejandro Rueles, CEO of ThirdEar, which was first called LatinWorks, founded his agency in 1998, which he said was a time when Hispanic marketing was seen as just another checkbox.

This type of reflection lasted for some time and probably still does today for some brands. Executives of eight multicultural agencies that Ad Age spoke to said that putting the Latin American population under a general label of “Hispanic” is a mistake when trying to reach the public.

“Hispanic marketing is like saying digital marketing these days – it’s an old label,” said Luis Montero, CEO of the community. “Much like digital, I feel like we’ve been living in a world of ‘post-Hispanic marketing’ for quite some time now. The Hispanic community is much more than a segment, but rather an undeniable and increasingly influential part of the American cultural fabric. It is therefore more and more difficult to part with it, and that is a good thing.

Brands’ original thinking on the subject was perpetrated by “Hispanic agencies,” Rueles said. “Unfortunately, several of the established ‘Hispanic agencies’ of the day responded to these customer perceptions instead of focusing on the consumer.” Rueles continued. “As a result, the use of Hispanic stereotypes became common practice and the airwaves were inundated with jalapenos, maracas, grandmothers, and other symbols of Hispanic cultures.”

Nowadays there are many multicultural agencies and traditional agencies even adopt their own cultural offerings, but even the term “multicultural” is becoming obsolete. In August, Taco Bell named Cashmere as its very first benchmark cultural agency. When the partnership was announced, Taco Bell CEO Mark King called the multicultural “the new general market,” a sentiment Cashmere’s creative director shared two years ago during an Ad podcast. Age and growing among culture-oriented agencies.

“I refer to us as an intercultural agency, because the name multicultural has often been used to refer to specialized Hispanic, black or Asian agencies. I feel like cross-cropping is a higher-order umbrella term that encompasses the general market and some of those other under-represented segments, ”said Pedro Lerma, director and founder of Lerma /.

Take a seat at the table

Often, multicultural agencies are approached after a brand has finalized its campaign or strategy, which can limit the contribution that a multicultural agency can provide. However, Alex Macias, Managing Partner and COO of Macias Creative, says he “finally sees a big change” in this regard.

“In the past a lot of times brands would come to us – we still see it today – where it’s all fleshed out, and then they say, ‘Oh, by the way, what can we do for Hispanic Americans?’ Macias said. “But now it’s like, ‘Okay guys, that’s what we’re going to target, we’re going to have a meeting with all of our agencies, and we’re going to talk about this as a more holistic conversation. “

This sentiment is consistent with what consultants see on a large scale.

“We have seen a very specific evolution in the role of the multicultural agency of delivering the core marketing message in relevant ways; active participation in shaping core messaging strategies, ”said Matt Ryan, CEO of Roth Ryan Hayes consulting firm. “Several leading marketers are asking their primary agencies to both offer multiculturalism and to work collaboratively with their specialist partners. “

McDonald’s is a brand that has been consistent in its efforts to attract a Hispanic population. Alma is the agency behind some of the channel’s most memorable multicultural works, such as last year’s collaboration with Latino singer J. Balvin which included a song, “Dorado”, which was made available in the app. of the restaurant chain after appearing as an advertisement during the Latin Grammy Awards.

Luis Miguel Messianu, Founder, Creative President and CEO, said the key to this 27-year relationship, which has spanned 13 marketing directors, is the brand’s willingness to bring the agency to strategic meetings early.

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