latino lingo

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Going beyond language ... and Spanish-language media reps

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco has a good on-line column in Advertising Age that's worth reading.

She outlines many of the reasons by communicating a brand has to go beyond just putting the general market message in to Spanish. She talks about a practice I've seen often, general market agencies and clients relying on media ad reps to take care of translating their ads.

Media reps are all too accommodating at this practice. After all, they get paid on commission for running and ad; not for whether the ad was effective or not. The result is that legitimate agencies with creative shops don't enter the mix for these types of people because after all, why pay for the leche when you can get the vaca for free? I've seen a bank locally do this and they almost ran into legal problems on a home equity loan ad because the Spanish media rep didn't understand the concept of equity. Thus, the ad read that the bank was giving you a loan for the full market price of your house, and not the equity.

But, beyond the fact it hurts agency business and you could be ending up in legal limbo, I feel the practice of using media reps to translate or do voice overs is a practice actually hurts the market overall. When campaigns don't work, budgets are pulled and agencies tell clients that "Hispanic marketing doesn't work." They don't look at the message or the creative. They never realize that they failed to establish a relationship with the market or create brand awareness. When companies pull out of marketing to Hispanics because they think they did the "right thing" by using a media rep that speaks Spanish and yet the campaign still failed, it hurts the whole market.

The message for agencies and clients here is treat the market with respect . Just like in the general market use marketing and business experts for Hispanic marketing, and not just someone whose credentials are that they speak Spanish or are Hispanic. After all, you don't use Joe at the local English newspaper to do your general market advertising, so why would you use Jose at the Spanish paper? You need a budget as Rochelle says in her piece. The message for the media reps, that are all too accommodating because they just want to sell, is that you might get the 15 cents today but you're jeopardizing the $1 you could make tomorrow if people stop advertising when things don't work. Leave marketing and transcreation to the professionals.

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