latino lingo

All things related to effective Hispanic marketing, Hispanic advertising and Hispanic public relations.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Power of Hispanic media on issues

There's an interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle on how Spanish radio helped spread the word of planned protests in L.A. against some of the proposed immigration reform.

While this isn't a forum for debating political issues, I bring up this point since the article says protest organizers credit radio stations for the unexpected 500,000 people that showed up.

It's hard to think of a parallel example of mainstream media getting behind a major societal issue and making it even bigger.

This effort also shows the power of grassroots efforts in the Hispanic community.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Do you need to be Hispanic to market to Hispanics?

I'd be retired by now if I had a quarter for every time an organization's approach to marketing to Hispanics was to hire a Hispanic. While I stongly believe being of Hispanic origin is critical, so is knowing something about marketing and communication, and about the market being targeted. Being Hispanic isn't enough.

Chief Marketing Officer Magazine has an article in its latest issue that discusses the debate about wheter it takes a Latino to market to Latinos. (Thanks to my collegue Norm Morneau for alerting me to the story).

Pretty good read.

Spanish TV ad revenues continue to grow

Hispanic Business is reporting that advertising revenues for Spanish-language television grew 16.9 percent in 2005, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Spanish-language TV ranked second in percentage growth behind Internet advertising, and ahead of third-place cable TV.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hispanic businesses boom

Many news outlets picked up the U.S. Census released a report yesterday on the growth of Hispanic-owned businesses.

The report said the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 31 percent between 1997 and 2002 — three times the national average for all businesses. The report — called Survey of Business Owners: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2002 — said nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses generated nearly $222 billion in revenue, up 19 percent from 1997.

Other highlights:

-- In 2002, nearly 3-in-10 Hispanic-owned firms operated in construction and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance.
-- In 2002, Mexican-owned firms accounted for more than 44 percent of all of them.
-- There were 29,184 Hispanic-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more.
-- There were 1,510 Hispanic-owned firms with 100 employees or more, generating more than $42 billion in gross receipts.
-- States with the fastest rates of growth for Hispanic-owned firms between 1997 and 2002 included New York (57 percent), Rhode Island and Georgia (56 percent each), Nevada and South Carolina (48 percent each).

The boom in the service sector in places like Rhode Island and Georgia tells me that Hispanics are largely responding to the rapidly-growing Hispanic population in areas not generally thought of as huge Hispanic areas (like, say, a NYC or Miami).

Just like Goya started decades ago to fill a void for "food from home" for mass Puerto Rican migration, these Hispanics (like other minority groups) are setting the example in terms of filling a real need for general market companies to follow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

VW has some "turbo-cojones"

VW's decision to market its new GTI to Hispanics by using a black-and-white billboard with the car and the words "Turbo-Cojones"in big, bold letters, has caused an uproar in Miami, the Sun Sentinel reports.

For those of you who didn't learn swear words in Spanish, cojones literally means testicles. Though, the word -- like its English counterpart "balls" -- has been adapted to mean "daring" as in someone has "cojones."

According to the article, Clear Channel Outdoor refused to put the billboard up in Miami, but CBS Outdoor put it up in Little Havana. Then the complaints came forcing VW to pull it down. They also took it down in New York and LA, though the story says there wasn't an uproar like in Miami.

"We wanted something that broke out of the mold and carried the connotation of being strong and gutsy," Daniel Marrero, creative director for CreativeOndemanD, is quoted as saying in the article. He goes on to say, "This is a word adapted in the American vernacular. We never thought it would be an issue."

But, the issue clearly is how the message would be interpreted by Spanish-dominant speakers. Clearly, it took "cojones" for VM marketing to agree to Marrero's creative recommendation. Then again, perhaps this double meaning -- the car having "turbo cojones" and VM having "turbo cojones" for putting such a message in Miami -- is why they did it. However, it backfired. If they wanted to create "buzz" perhaps this wasn't the approach to use in a city like Miami.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Conn. Hispanics' university enrollment, graduation rates lag

The Associated Press is reporting that while minority enrollment and graduation rates are increasing at Connecticut colleges and universities, Hispanic students remain underrepresented.

The story, carried in some state papers including the New Britain Herald, says Hispanics receive less than 5 percent of the undergraduate degrees awarded at Connecticut's four-year universities, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state Department of Higher Education.

"The disparity worries education officials because the state's Hispanic population is soaring and, in the long run, Connecticut's professional work force will not reflect the state's demographics unless the trend is reversed," the story says.

The story reports on another report released Wednesday by the Department of Higher Education that shows a growing gap between male and female college students. Women now comprise almost 60 percent of the state's college students.

The Higher Education Department's office of educational opportunity also says black and Hispanic students are disproportionately heading to two-year programs, the story reports.

This is an urgent issue for Connecticut because of the rapidly-growing Hispanic population. According to the U.S. Census, Hispanic population has gone up from about 200,000 in 1990 to well over 400,000 in the 2005 estimate.

While many universities have begun to make some outreach efforts, such as exhibiting at fairs and expos or through some community outreach efforts, I have seen very few actually make a significant effort to do so. Those that do usually place ads that show a Hispanic student or a group of Hispanic students thinking that is enough. It is not enough merely to show some "brown" faces in a Spanish ad not specifically designed to target the Hispanic population.

More money is needed, yes, but so is a greater effort to truly seek to tap into the market. That usually means approaching the market with the respect it deserves, with a serious budget and not just a few dollars conjured up for a quick media buy, and a culturally relevant message.

As a product of the University of Connecticut (go Huskies!) this is an issue I'm particularly interested in and will continue to monitor for you.

Miller responds to beer boycott

"We are on the same team" is Miller Brewing Co.'s response to a threatened boycott of their products in Chicago as a result of Miller's contributions to the political campaign of Sen. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.). The senator is behind a bill that calls for strengthening U.S. anti-immigration laws and construction a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an article in Hoy's Chicago version, the company's spokesman said they donated $2,000 to the senator in 2004 since he had supported company business causes, and not for social issues. He also added that they have provided more than $2 million over three years to Hispanic organizations throughout the country, and they have developed programs for scholarships and naturalization.

The beer company also put out "an unusual" one-page ad in Thursday's edition of Hoy, according to an article in Marketing y Medios .

Not sure what Marketing y Medios means by "unusual" since I haven't seen the ad. But, there is nothing "unusual" about companies buying full page ads to state their cases.

I was actually recently interviewed by a local TV station to comment on a company in the state whose union workers are striking about the effectiveness of these ads (they have placed them in the area papers) to communicate their points. What I said is that they are an effective way to ensure your messages are communicated to an intended audience without a filter (i.e. the news editors) or conflicting sentiments (i.e. if they also interviewed a union person in the same article).

However, they are not effective if this is the only means of communication. A broader public relations and media relations campaign is needed. And, much of that must be done prior to the strike (or boycott in Miller's case). For examples, make sure you establish positive ties and trust with the media so there is a good relationship and you can ensure your story gets told. That means, answering their queries in a timely manner whether the news is good or bad. All too often companies are happy to send out all their positive news for media coverage, but stonewall when they call for something that is not too positive. Don't put out your bad news at 5:00 on a Friday in hopes it doesn't get covered or try other "tricks" to do damage control. This is very transparent to the media. They will remember that next time you're looking for ink on a positive story ... or when the mierda hits the fan.

It appears Miller has done that as the stories I've seen speak to the work the company has done to support the Hispanic community. It is also good that they have a track record, $2 million is not shabby and certainly more than many companies contribute.

They now need to continue to be active and continue to appear responsive to the concerns of the organizations threatening to boycott. The message they have to get out is to weigh the value of a $2,000 contribution to the general campaign of someone who does things out of Miller's control against the $2 million they have contributed to support Hispanic causes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I've never had green rice and beans

Talk about a very interesting infusion of cultures, Puerto Rican and Irish.

El Diálogo, the only bilingual/multicultural newspaper published biweekly in greater Springfield, Mass., is hosting its annual "Islands Together" celebration. The event is an Irish/Salsa party that features a Celtic rock band and a Latin Jazz and Salsa group.

The newspaper's editor, Lillian Santiago, sent me a flyer announcing the event, which takes place this Thursday night in Holyoke, Mass. I have to say the event sounds great so I'll be there. If you're in the area I'd recommend you stop by. I've always wondered who partied more, the Irish or Latinos. In Holyoke, at least, they've stopped wondering and decided there's more fun in joining forces. This is true multi-culturalism!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gatorade using Mexican NFL player in new campaign

Gatorade is launching an advertising campaign featuring NFL player Rolando Cantú, the first student from a Mexican university to play in the NFL. This campaign marks the first time Gatorade will focus on one sport using a Latino, Marketing y Medios reports.

While it's not surprising, or novel, that Gatorade would target the Hispanic population using a Hispanic, what I am a bit surprised about is that they chose the NFL route as their debut rather than another sport that broadly appeals to the Hispanic masses like boxing, baseball or the real "football," the one that is actually played with your feet using a round ball.

I did play both sports growing up, and while I have always loved the feeling of knocking someone flat on their butt in football and still watch the NFL with regularity, the passion and love for futbol always took priority. Don't bother me during the World Cup. Further, my family, and most Latinos I know, actually term U.S.footballl "el juego de los brutos," which directly translates as "the game of the brutes" since it is a physical sport. They deplore football for its violence. But, to be honest, I have never understood this sentiment since all of them love boxing!

The spot apparently will have Cantú recounting how he was told he was not big enough to play in the NFL, as a way to demonstrate to Hispanic immigrants that it is possible to succeed here, the article reports a Gatorade statement as saying.

Sounds like a good correlation. I'm just thankful this wasn't an "If I could be like Miguel" campaign!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

La Raza critical of Hurricane response

Scripps Howard News Service reports on a recently-released study from the National Council of La Raza on the poor emergency response for Hispanic Katrina victims.

The article reports on disturbing issues such as the Director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance begging a station in Gulfport to let her broadcast evacuation messages in Spanish since she said no efforts had been made by local officials to put out warnings and shelter information in Spanish. It wasn't until hours before the storm struck that the station finally televised the urgent message.

The study is critical of all layers of government and the American Red Cross for failing the Hispanic community both in preparations for the storms and in the response after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit.

In my post "Red Cross, or Cruz Blanca" a few weeks back I addressed some of the issues at the Red Cross and how they were actively seeking ways to do something about it.

While most of the media attention has been given to the blacks who suffered, especially in the lower wards, it is important to note that the hurricanes did affect Hispanics. This was further complicated by the language issue.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Have a Coke and a "mile"

Marketing y Medios reports on Coke's launch of its first fully bilingual U.S. Internet campaign for its "My Coke" rewards program, which offers consumers "Coke miles" as a reward for purchasing its product.

This follows their general-market campaign to promote the loyalty system, they report. The Web site is designed to promote the program, which this year will place 4 billion codes on Coke packaging beginning with 20-ounce bottles.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More bad news for Hispanic health

Story in the AP carried by the Hartford Courant today entitled, "Study: Hispanic Health Down
Immigrants Suffer Obesity, Diabetes" outlines more bad news for Hispanic health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study says the longer Hispanics are here, the more likely they are to become obese or to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Worse, Hispanics born here have higher rates of those illnesses.

Complicating matters is that Hispanic immigrants are among those least likely to have health insurance.

Here are some sobering statistics from the study:
-- 22 percent of Hispanics who have been in the country more than five years are obese, compared with 16.1 percent who have been here for less than five.
-- High blood pressure climbs from 13.4 percent for newer arrivals to 19.8 percent for those here longer.
-- As they stay longer than five years, diabetes rates rise from 6.9 percent to 7.5 percent and heart disease increases from 3.5 percent to 5.4 percent.
-- Among Hispanics born in this country, 29.8 percent are obese, 24.5 percent report high blood pressure, 10.8 percent are diabetic and 7.6 percent have heart disease. Among the native-born U.S. population overall, 22.9 percent are obese, 24.3 percent have high blood pressure, 6.1 percent are diabetic and 7.6 percent have heart disease.

Thanks to Carol Pompano from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut for forwarding this along to me.