latino lingo

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mas on Hispanic health communication

The Westchester (N.Y.) Business Journal has an article about the growth of Hispanics in the area (18 percent of the population) and the increased growth of Hispanics on the Internet. The article, written by Christina Occhipinti, is based on the recently released "Latinos Online" study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Pew Hispanic Center in March 2007.

One of the organizations the writer highlights as moving on the Internet trend is Hudson Health Plan. Their Spanish-language website launched in April, according to Ted Herman, vice president of communications. He is quoted in the article as saying, "We wanted to be able to provide them (Hispanics) with access, whether they preferred to get that information in English or in the Spanish language. The idea is to make site as welcoming and accommodating to the profile of our membership.”

While I applaud their effort to try to communicate to the growing Hispanic base in the region, the mistake is solely focusing on language. Further, the link to the Spanish-language site on the English Language site reads, "Versión Española," which actually means Spain's version v. the version in Spanish. In other words, it's like saying the "Mexican Version" or the "Puerto Rican Verion."

That aside, the web site is essentially a translation of their English-language site. The challenge, as I've written about numerous times in this blog, is that communication to Hispanics transcends language. Especially in health communication. There are issues such as culture, religion, spirituality, machismo, marianismo, etc. that need to be addressed, regardless of language. I recently spoke at the New England Society of Health Care Communicators and my overall message was one of not focusing solely on language. That's the easy way, not the effective way. A direct translation does not address these or other issues that are often the larger barriers to effective health communication with Hispanics.

On a related note, L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan, announced that they will launch a new advertising campaign this week targeting low-income Hispanic uninsured families. The campaign in Spanish is again a direct translation of the one in English. It shows people giving out oranges. I invite you to look at the campaign and explain to me how it specifically addresses the stated objective of targeting low income and uninsured Hispanic families. In my estimation, it's a generic campaign focused more on brand attributes of the health plan, and not specifically what it offers to low income and uninsured Hispanics.

The take away, again, is to ensure smart and effective communication that is culturally and linguistically relevant. Not just putting information in Spanish.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not your father's Nutmeg State

Without the continued influx of foreign-born immigrants, the population in Connecticut is expected to potentially shrink in the next few years, according to a study by the Connecticut State Data Center at the University of Connecticut.

Connecticut’s white population, which is currently 77 percent, will account for just barely 61 percent of the state’s population by 2030, according to their press release.

This is the first statewide and town-by-town population projections compiled for Connecticut in twelve years.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Desperate Housewives en Spanish

Television Latin America has signed an agreement to produce a Spanish version of Desperate Housewives for showing on Univision in the U.S., according to a MediaWeek article.

The show will be produced in Argentina, and scripts will follow the U.S. version but adapted to "the preferences of U.S. Hispanics."

Word is that Jennifer Lopez is partly behind (no pun intended) this? If so, it's great to see her be Latina again! Before I'm judged as "harsh" ... I do need to say there is a lot of resentment in the Hispanic community toward her. Many view her as a "sell out" and her recent Spanish-language album was viewed by many as an "attempt" to be "Latina again." While the mainstream media wrote a lot about her return "to the hood" a few months ago to launch her new Spanish album, what wasn't widely reported is that only about 500 people showed up! Even w/Marc Anthony in tow they could only get a crowd like that in the Bronx.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Pesos fuel Pizza Patron

Pizza Patron's decision to accept pesos has evidently helped fuel its growth, first quarter sales are up 34.8% over last year, according to a release they sent out on PR Newswire.

"Our customers love the program. Perhaps our first quarter store sales are avindication of sorts for occupying a unique position in the marketplace andnot yielding to the pressure from the opposition," Andrew Gamm, director of BrandDevelopment for Pizza Patron, is quoted as saying in the release.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Disney jumps on Quinceanera bandwagon

Got $20,000? If so, your soon-to-be 15-year-old daughter can get the "Belle of the Ball" Quinceanera package that Disney is now making available to groups of 100 or more celebrants.

On the heels of recently announcing that they are offering their wedding packages to homosexuals, Disney continues to be on its apparent quest to appeal to all audiences.

In a release they sent out on PR NewsWire, Disney points out that more than a million Latinas turn 15 in an average year, and the significant right of passage that it symbolizes for the culture.

The packages begin at $1,800 and Disney event planners will help create a themed experience that includes everything from Disney-style entertainment and food-and-beverage menus to fairy tale linens and specially designed centerpieces, etc.