Fingers Need to Point in New Direction

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Apr 04, 2006
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Editorial by Terry Soto, President & CEO, About Marketing Solutions, Inc.

(www.aboutmarketingsolutions.com)

With regard to the March 29 Wall Street Journal article entitled ¿Cerveza, Sí o No?, I agree there ought to be regulatory control and corporate policies
that ensure accountability and corporate responsibility to all youth, not just Hispanic. I disagree, however, with activists’ claims that alcohol companies are disproportionately
targeting Hispanic youth with their ad messages and that this has been the catalyst for alcohol abuse among Hispanic youth.


If in fact more Hispanic youth are exposed to alcohol advertising, consider that it is more likely a function of the market’s younger demographics. There are simply more young Hispanics in households being targeted by Hispanic advertising. One could also argue that Hispanic youth are more likely to consume youth-oriented content, which is more prevalent on English language media, therefore getting a double hit on both English and Spanish media. Be that as it may, it is not where I believe the problem lies.


I believe that we have to consider and examine the behavior of the adults in Hispanic households and especially those of lower socio-economic strata. Let’s recognize that there is a natural tendency for these Hispanic households to consume beer and other alcohol beverages recreationally and often; to relax, as part of family gatherings, for celebrations, and even with meals. This is clearly proving to have a much stronger impact on the drinking behavior of younger members of the households.


In a sense, parents, older siblings and extended family are unintentionally conveying that recreational drinking is okay. I think it’s easy to point fingers to outside influences, but I’m afraid that, in this case, my advise is to look inwardly at Hispanic household characteristics, behavior and parental responsibility. This, I’m sure, is not lost on the market segmentation schemes and marketing strategies of beer companies. Strong category development insight is surely a key driver for beer marketer’s spending. In this case, however, I believe it is far from an abuse of the Hispanic youth market.


Moderator’s Comment: Are companies, in general, prepared to rebut misplaced criticism with market insights that defend their position? Should marketers
be willing to present these insights even as, in this case, they point the finger back at some segment of their own consumer base, such as adult Hispanics?

Terry Soto – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Fingers Need to Point in New Direction"


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David Livingston
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

These companies have done a lot of market research and know who their customers are. Pretending otherwise just to please some crybaby anti-advertsing radical extremists would go against the basic principles of earning a profit for shareholders.

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

Brewery stockholders want greater profits. Greater profits come from smart marketing. Smart marketing includes ways to keep the government from hurting the business. The tobacco companies seem to have escaped destruction and maximized profits by smart marketing and (so far) the best legal strategy the world has ever seen. Some industries have the brightest people and the brightest people bring the best results. Altria shareholders have experienced great financial results in spite of the clear destruction the #1 product causes. Beer companies don’t seem to be as smart. Most of them aren’t showing consistent profit growth. They need a winning legal and marketing strategy. In regulated industries, these 2 strategies go together.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

I’m intrigued by Terry’s concern that Hispanic youngsters are getting a double hit – why are beer companies advertising to any young people, Hispanic or otherwise?

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

I chose the “continue along w/education” option, not because I think “education” is actually effective, but because it helps appease the government and radical extremists. The real “problem” here, of course, is that there are a great many of the latter: that someone is disturbed by the thought that “…parents, older siblings and extended family are unintentionally conveying that recreational drinking is okay,” and defines that charmingly ambiguous term to embrace (even)”… family gatherings, for celebrations, and even with meals,” hints at that.

Daryle Hier
Guest
Daryle Hier
14 years 10 months ago

If the indexing quotients are right, then essentially there’s no problem here – except the more larger obstacle, which is the constant demonetization that continues to erode our society. I concur with the majority thought here if simply to appease. The beer industry does an excellent job in marketing so they need to use that expertise for their image before it’s too late.

Who’s next?

Warren Thayer
Guest
14 years 10 months ago

I just looked up ACNielsen indexes on Hispanics and alcohol, and what I saw surprised me. Total food and beverage, 101; alcoholic beverages, 95; beer, 108; coolers, 122; liquor, 81; wine, 86. I suspect others may be surprised by this, also. Can’t claim sufficient expertise here on the topic to offer a firm opinion.

Anne Villarreal
Guest
Anne Villarreal
14 years 10 months ago

I don’t know that I agree with Soto that there’s a “natural tendency” for Hispanics of a certain socio-economic strata to drink. In fact, I know I don’t agree. But I do agree that a kid’s behavior is influenced by those in his/her household, whatever their race or ethnicity. Beer companies, as far as I can see, aren’t running ads in cartoons or attempting product placement in The Wiggles. As long as they are targeting legal adults, one cannot blame them for the personal choices people make, whatever their ethnicity or race.

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