latino lingo

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Massachusetts Connector not connecting with Latinos?

July 1 marks the deadline for nearly every adult in Massachusetts to obtain health insurance. Officially called the Health Care Reform, the "Connector," as it's called, has the obvious goal of reducing the number of people in the state who have no health insurance. Before the Reform, there were nearly 500,000 people without insurance, according to their website.

Yet, until a minute ago when I checked, they still don't have any information available in Spanish on the website. I contacted them a few weeks ago and they said something was in the works. I made a "test" call to their 800# to see what would happen. I prompted to the Spanish options, which resulted in frustration and being bounced around until I finally reached someone who spoke Spanish.

According to a 2006 Mass Health and Human Services release, the Black uninsured rate for Hispanics was 12.8 percent, compared to 5.1 percent for whites.

To me, it seems like communication to Hispanics was an after thought. Like a light in someone's head came on and said "holy cow, we need info in Spanish," rather than making outreach to Hispanics core in its outreach plans. My hunch is a translation service is frantically trying to finish the job.

Readers of my blog know about the challenges of health communication to Hispanics. So, I hope I'm proven wrong that outreach to Hispanics was an after thought and that they are being culturally relevant in their communication v. just translating.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Way to insult your hosts, Arnold!

So the National Association of Hispanic Journalists invited Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak at its 25th annual convention. What does he do when he gets a question on improving Latino academic performance? He tells the Hispanic journalist audience that Hispanics should avoid the Spanish-language media.

Other than ensuring his invitation gets "lost" for next year's convention, the Terminator is also missing the point on today's Hispanic migration and the role of the media.

As most know and understand, Hispanics today are not assimilating like the Europeans did at the turn of the last century. We are rather acculturation. As I've explained, two of the main reasons for this are technology (since we can connect to home much easier) and proximity of our immigration (i.e. a 2-4 hour flight v. a 2-4 month boat ride to Ellis Island).

In addition, the role of the Spanish-language media is critical for Hispanics. Even for bi-lingual to English-dominant Hispanics who are reliant on the media to cover our issues and our communities from our perspectives . Who else is doing this? Certainly not the main stream media. Not to mention we do like to keep in touch with what's happening in our home countries.

So, is immersion an effective technique, I suppose it is. But, the answer to learning English isn't in avoiding the Spanish language. We can "immerse" ourselves in other situations and ways (for instance, my parents got my brothers and me a tutor when we were little) without avoiding the Spanish media. They are too important to ignore. Not to mention as a Hispanic marketer I'd be out of work without the Spanish media LOL :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ad spending up in 2007

Marketing y Medios is quoting a TNS Media Intelligence study in a current article that shows that the top 10 advertisers in Spanish-language media spent a total of $256 million in the first quarter of 2007, a 3.6 percent increase from the same time last year.

But ad expenditures overall were down 0.3 percent to $34.93 billion compared to the same period in 2006.

Further, the article says that 7 of the top 10 major advertisers in Hispanic media in first quarter 2007 increased their buys by 3.6 percent compared to the same time last year.