latino lingo

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You'd think a global (and public) company would know better

With great anticipation I opened up an article from the Houston Business Journal on computer company Hewlett-Packard's new Hispanic marketing effort.

I say with anticipation as I remember chuckling at the HP ad that Marketing y Medios profiled in their column that ridicules bad language and grammar use. The ad (see picture) promotes HP's customer service line, and reads, "Garantia y soporte al cliente." They intended that to translate to "customer support and warranty" but the word "soporte" that is used actually means "tolerate" in Spanish and not "support" as they intended. So, in essence, HP is promoting its phone number that "tolerates calls from its customers." Ouch!

So, back to the article ... it mentions HP's new Spanish website that I eagerly click on. To my great disappointment, not only does HP continues to use the word "soporte" where they mean to say "support," it's also riddled with other grammatical errors.

I personally don't know if they are using a Hispanic agency or not or if they paid a translation service to translate their site to Spanish or something else.

I'm also puzzled by the banner that reads, "HP te da la bienvenida a nuestra comunidad" (HP welcomes you to our neighborhood) as if we Hispanics are outsiders that are now being welcomed into the HP community ... rather than HP acknowledging that we Hispanics are already a critical and growing part of that community.

Semantics, perhaps, but none the less I hope this marketing effort isn't about communicating that HP is inviting us into some "exclusive" club (do we get to know the secret handshake too?) but rather recognizing that we are a critical part of the market and they are offering products and services that appeal to us.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't complain since once I'm invited in, at least I know HP will "tolerate" ... I mean "support" me ...

Monday, November 27, 2006

How rude of me!

I also meant to say that I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We went to the in-laws and had a really traditional meal just like the Pilgrims and Indians had ... you, know, turkey with arroz con gandules!

I am also among the lunatics that hits the Black Friday sales. I reached Best Buy at 3:15 a.m. and, this year, that was too late. I'm usually about 20-30 people back at that time. This time, the line was already around the building, through the parking lot and about to the street. Guess next year I'm pushing straight through and not trying to catch a few hours of sleep before making my trek for the door busters!

Wal-Mart wants in on the banking industry

Some in the banking community are fighting tooth and nail against Wal-Mart's application to charter its own industrial loan corporation, according to an In Business Las Vega article.

They worry that Wal-Mart will wipe them out, hurt small business and speculate that Wal-Mart would control the fate of its diminutive competitors by potentially withholding loans, according to the article.

What Wal-Mart is trying to do, according to a spokesperson quoted in the article, is to serve customers who wouldn't otherwise seek financial services from banks: money transfers, bill pay services, money orders and check cashing — "at the customer service desk, and at Wal-Mart style prices."

Wal-Mart actively markets its $3.00 payroll check cashing, $0.46 cent money orders and $9.46 money transfers to Hispanics. These are prices far lower than most banking institutions.

What ever you think of Wal-Mart, this is an idea that will work. As they say in the street, don't hate the player, hate the game.

Speaking of the game, this isn't really a novel idea. Some banks, such as Bank of America, are actively engaging the Hispanic market through offering products such as wire transfers.

Rather than complain and protest, other banks should follow suit and continuously offer products to meet their new customers' needs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hispanics fuel Conn. community college growth

Article in the Hartford Courant today reports that minorities, fueled by Hispanics and largely by female Hispanics, have been the key to community college enrollment growth for eight consecutive years in Connecticut.

In the past five years, enrollment of Hispanic females has risen 21 percent, the article says. Hispanic males were at about 14 percent.

The boom in population, and thus a larger Hispanic pool of students, and lower costs were the 2 key contributing factors mentioned in the article.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Baby Abuelita dolls strike cultural cord

Trying to tap into the desire that many Hispanics have to find and give gifts that touch and pass on culture to the next generation are Baby Abuelita dolls, grandparent dolls that sing Spanish-language lullabies. They were developed by 3 working mothers – a teacher, a lawyer and a psychotherapist – in Miami and are modeled after typical Latin American grandparents. They strive to preserve old cradle songs familiar to Hispanics, according to a release on Hispanic PR Wire.

While a PS3 is probably higher on many Hispanic childrens' Christmas and 3 King's Day lists this year, these dolls and others that tap into Spanish language and Hispanic culture, are probably high on the gift lists for many Hispanic adults. They are ideal in that they are great gift ideas and help to pass on culture and language. Plus, no one gets shot trying to buy one or we don't have to wait outside Best Buy for 5 days to get them.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Latino "griegos" growing

More than 30,000 people are members of Hispanic fraternities and sororities, triple the number of the early 1990s, according to the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations and written in an article on North

This is important, according to the article, as the feeling of alienation is one of the factors, in the low numbers of Hispanics who attend and stay in college. A 2004 study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Hispanic undergraduates are half as likely to graduate with a degree as white undergraduates.

As a member of the fraternity profiled in the article, Lambda Theta Phi, and the first in my family to graduate from college, the feeling of unity and inclusion was also huge for me. So was the service aspect of the fraternity (no, not all party all the time).

The cultural challenge, however, was in convincing mami and papi that joining a fraternity, even though it was a Latino fraternity, was a good idea. Their idea of a fraternity is what they've seen on TV and they reminded me of the movie Animal House. I did convince them of the benefit and today are proud of me and my fraternity brothers who have gone on to successful and professional careers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Top Hispanic emerging markets

The Selig Center for Economic Growth also include the 10 fastest growing Hispanic consumer markets (listed in order of percent of change from 1990-2006)

1 Arkansas 1174.4%
2 N. Carolina 1041.6%
3 Tennessee 832.5%
4 Georgia 832.2%
5 Nevada 747.8%
6 Alabama 678.8%
7 S. Dakota 651.9%
8 Minnesota 633.0%
9 S. Carolina 625.6%
10 N. Dakota 622.8%

These are not your father's traditional Hispanic markets. What does this mean? While most national advertisers focus their dollars on the established Hispanic markets (i.e. New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, etc.) since the largest concentrations of Hispanics are there, companies should and need to consider these secondary markets in their outreach plans.

Hispanics: Minority group with most disposable income

The Selig Center for Economic Growth recently released its annual report, "The Multicultural Economy," that showed Hispanic spending power in 2007 is $863 billion in 2007, the most of any other minority group and up 300 percent since 1990 -- according to an article on

Other key findings in the report:
-- Purchasing power will reach about $1.2 trillion in 2011.
-- Between 1990 and 2011, the Hispanic population will increase by 126.4 percent, compared
to a 25.4 percent gain for the total population and 5.4 percent for the non-Hispanic population.
-- Hispanics spend more on groceries, telephone services, major appliances, vehicle purchases, gas and motor oil, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and housing.
-- Hispanics spend the same as non-Hispanics on alcoholic beverages, utilities, housekeeping supplies, furniture, small appliances women’s and girls’ clothing, public transportation, and personal care products and services.
-- Hispanics spend less on health care, entertainment, education, and personal insurance
and pensions.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Latin Grammys deliver Univision's 2nd highest audience ever

Univision announced on BusinessWire that last night's broadcast of the awards show reached 11.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research’s Fast NTI Ratings. The release says the show was also the #1 program in its time period in many major markets (including NY, Miami, LA, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco) among key adults 18-34, 18-49, and teens 12-17, regardless of language.

More Hispanic Adults 18-49 watched last night than the combined Hispanic audiences of The Academy Awards, The American Music Awards, The Billboard Music Awards, The Emmy Awards, The Golden Globes, and MTV’s Video Music Awards, according to the release.

Compare this to 2004, when they showed the Latin Grammys in English on CBS and only reached 3.2 million people, according to an AP article. I sure hope the guy (or gal) who made that bone-headed decision has found another job by now ...

Latin Grammy ads raising the bar ... I hope

While I was at an album release party for a new salsa album by Ray Gonzalez y Su Orquesta and missed the beginning of the Latin Grammys (and Ugly Betty ... ok, yes, I admit I'm hooked ... is there a such thing as Betty's Anonymous?) I was back in time to watch my fellow Colombian Shakira take home a couple trophies, including Record and Album of the Year.

I also was able to catch many of the TV commercials, including some from Heineken and Wal-Mart among others. While I saw plenty that were pretty average, it was refreshing to see many well done spots that really spoke to the heart and to the culture. I hope the days of simply adapting general market scripts and showing a couple Hispanics are quickly heading behind us.