Second Generation Hispanics Change Marketing Rules

Discussion
Nov 03, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Hispanic population continues to grow at a rate much
faster than the rest of the U.S. population and their numbers are having
a profound effect on many aspects of American society, reports Adweek.

According to the Census Bureau, the number
of Hispanics has grown from 38 million individuals living in the U.S. in
2000 to nearly 50 million today. The biggest part of that growth has come
from second-generation Hispanics. Based on the government’s statistics,
88 percent of Hispanic children were born in the U.S. compared to 61 percent
of adults.

“In the 2010 Census, we’ll see confirmation
of a shift from Hispanic consumers who are first generation, where Spanish
is the dominant language, to second-generation, bilingual, bicultural consumers.
It totally transforms how we market,” Cynthia McFarlane, chair of Publicis
Groupe’s Conill, a Latino agency, told Adweek. “These
are consumers who are as influenced by American culture as the country
of origin of their families. There is a new American culture forming, and
these consumers are having a tremendous impact on mainstream America.”

“We know the general market has become increasingly
multicultural, with Hispanic music, Hispanic tastes, the Hispanic palate
influencing a lot of general-market initiatives,” said Cristina Vilella,
director of marketing at McDonald’s USA. “We lead with
Hispanic insights but make sure they appeal to the general market.”

McDonald’s has runs ads with Spanish taglines
in general-market media and has also used “Spanglish” in the chain’s general
market ad campaign for its Big Mac Quarter Pounder.

Discussion
Questions: How are Hispanics of all generations affecting retailing
and consumer product marketing in the U.S.? What does the rapid growth
of the second generation mean for Hispanic marketing in this country?

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10 Comments on "Second Generation Hispanics Change Marketing Rules"


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Anne Howe
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

Hispanic and other ethnic cultural influences continue to make America a wonderful blended melting pot for marketers. But from a creative execution standpoint, marketers seem to want to find a one-size-fits-all, “creative platform” that appeals to everyone. Why not be willing to create a number of executions around a concept that individualize rather than trying to find the perfect middle ground? My friend Curt who runs SundbergFerar design group has a phrase–no more porridge. We need to be careful not to blend too many wonderful cultural nuances into porridge-like marketing communications.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 6 months ago

Hispanic marketing has always been organic. You could say the same for most ethnic groups. As generations pass, they embrace their home culture less and less. Retailers must be sensitive to these changes and adapt their business accordingly.

Unbelievable but yes, retailers have to constantly adapt to their changing community demographics. I always advise my clients to take a lead role in the community. It’s the easiest way to figure out what’s hot and what’s not.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

The Hispanic market is diverse. The “Asian” market is diverse. Within each age group in the U.S. (such as millenials and boomers) there is great diversity. Trying to identify homogeneous segments where none exist is not a successful strategy. Companies would be more successful if they were to stop trying to push the consumers into preset boxes and spend more time identifying patterns that exist among their consumers–regardless of ethnicity.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 6 months ago

Let’s see…people can’t be put into boxes as easily as marketers suggest. Hmmm. Oh…and neither can their children and grandchildren. What a shock! Amazing that in a world so ostensibly devoted to overcoming racial stereotypes that we find acculturation and human differentiation so noteworthy. Some of us have argued for decades that the Hispanic population was much more richly diverse than “experts” claimed they were. We were right then and we are right now.

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
11 years 6 months ago

Anne makes a good point. Let me take it a step further. America as a “melting pot” is a myth. The individual cultures of this country’s immigrants and succeeding generations retain individual characteristics for decades.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 6 months ago
Unfortunately, when we look at these types of studies, we tend to think in today’s terms. We want to pigeon hole our advertising targets and our customers. When it comes to immigration, there is great history of how the waves of immigrants adapted to the U.S. and how the U.S. adapted to the cultures that they brought with them. Today, we can find a multitude of cross-cultural traces with what we might call “Our Culture.” In the supermarket, consider broccoli, bagels, and chow mien noodles. Many retailers today take advantage of ethnic enclaves to build ethnically-oriented stores. Be assured, Wal-Mart knows what they are doing. But they also know that the term of success of these stores is limited. In a generation, the clientele in the geography will change and Wal-Mart will change to meet them. Similarly, ethnic-oriented advertising only makes sense when it can be directed to those who still fully speak the language and carry on the customs. Let’s not just look at where someone is born. Look at who they marry. Look… Read more »
Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 6 months ago

This is one of those shifts that reminds me of the record industry and growth of file sharing. We saw it coming forever but we only spring to attention when it hits the tipping point.

The opportunity going forward is fairly obvious. This is a significant demographic and cultural shift and represents entirely new segments.

My mind, however, goes to the missed opportunities retailers had to reach generation 1.5 and 2 Hispanics by welcoming and accommodating the needs of their parents years ago.

I wonder how may Hispanic kids watched their parents struggle through language and discrimination barriers at the hands of less than sympathetic businesses. And do they harbor any negativity toward those brands or retailers today?

David Morse
Guest
David Morse
11 years 6 months ago
If this were two years ago, I would have gone on and on about second generation Hispanics speaking English. Most are bilingual, but there was tremendous opposition from Hispanic advertising agencies and media companies (read Univision) in acknowledging this. To talk about English was heresy; the party line was Spanish, Spanish, Spanish. This attitude seems to be changing in the industry. At a recent conference held by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), nearly everyone seemed to acknowledge that Spanish or English (or Spanglish) are all viable, depending on which Hispanic you are talking too. The conversation, led by creatives and account planners, was more about how to do truly great creative, using culture as an asset, while acknowledging that our ethnic culture is just one aspect of who we are. It is going to be a real challenge for Hispanic agencies to break the code with this bilingual, U.S. born consumer. How do you market to him or her without being stereotypical? However, Hispanic ad agencies get their consumers. It did take some… Read more »
Melissa Lammers
Guest
Melissa Lammers
11 years 6 months ago
Ah, where to begin? First of all, about communications concepts being executed in different ways across ethnicities, well, of course! Why not, if that is the most effective way to persuade your target audience?!? I worked overseas in Spanish-speaking markets for years and became quite accustomed to transcreating campaigns from a strategic, rather than executional, starting point. Often that meant using existing footage, a responsible use of client money, but not necessarily using it as originally produced. My experience with marketers in the US Hispanic market is that by and large, they want identical executions in all their marketing communications, rather than using their assets judiciously to support a strategic focus. It truly and sadly misses the benefit of marketing to Hispanics in a culturally appropriate way. About the diversity within the Hispanic market; if good marketing practices are followed, this diversity becomes very evident in the course of knowing the consumer. Sadly, best practices are often seen as too costly for a ‘niche’ market. How many (fill in the blank…marketers, ad agencies, researchers, etc)… Read more »
Anthony De Rubeis
Guest
Anthony De Rubeis
11 years 2 months ago
I have read through each comment with interest and found many well-considered and insightful points; thank you. While a “cookie-cutter” marketing strategy is seldom adequate, I feel we must strive to remember that we should be marketing to human beings, not their ethnicity. Certainly, every group has inherent traits and preferences but when we dial into them as a main objective, does that not limit our market potential? How many Italian immigrants or Italian-Americans actually buy bottled tomato sauce? As another example, the “Hispanic Market” is typically defined as “Latino” and or “Spanish-speaking” but without distinctions for probably the single most diverse number of sub-groups within. In other words, there are huge gaps for marketers within the colloquial “Hispanic” group such as multi-generational emigrants from Mexico, South American, Caribbean, and European Spaniards…all with a distinctly different palate. It is completely inadequate to employ the Spanish language to effectively engage all. Further, while I agree with a modicum of “tweaking” to insure a culturally appropriate approach, I strongly object to the implementation of clumsy pseudo-terms such… Read more »
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