Monday, March 30, 2009

Not everyone can get away with "mis amigas mexicanos" blunder; bilingual marketing preference demands relevance

Humor helps, too; see the four funny commercials below

"Reaching Latino consumers can successfully be done in both English and Spanish, not either or"

Sentimental, bilingual Toyota Camry ad

Bilingual in the Boonies' Carrie Ferguson Weir recently published this article about Marketing to Latinos, in which she mentions a recent Nashville seminar on the importance of ethnic media and marketing (see also this Hispanic Nashville Notebook story about the economy's impact on ethnic media in Music City).

Weir expresses a preference for relevant, bilingual advertising (probably not surprising, considering the title of her blog):
[A] few days ago I read a story online that basically said reaching Latino consumers can successfully be done in both English and Spanish, not either or.
What language are Latinos speaking most? What language do we want to be addressed in by media and marketers?
For me -- a bicultural, bilingual consumer -- as long as the message is culturally relevant, it doesn't really matter what language is used. Just don't show me a stereotype or I shut you out. But, I do prefer English ads, marketing and web sites; it is the language of the academic side of my brain. Spanish is the language of my spirit. Reach them both and you win me.
Many of the comments below Weir's article echo the same preference:
Latin Grammys? Am all over it. I like the ads they play during it - the bit of spanish in them & people that look like me - totally wins me over.
I think we need a "Chicana" channel that caters to those of us who are bi-cultural. It could run shows/ads in either/both languages and be very effective.
I prefer my ads in English with a hint of Spanish.
(The sentimental Toyota Camry ad above is bilingual, but doesn't it sound like the "Mira" part of the ad is a voiceover? I wonder if it's as noticeable as I think, and if that impairs its impact.)

Since humor is a frequent element in successful advertising, I've included below a few funny commercials targeting Hispanic consumers, except these are primarily in Spanish. The first one (which I dub "Mis Amigas Mexicanos") has a high "relevant" quotient, playing on the U.S. stereotype that everyone south of the Rio Grande is Mexican; the fourth one gets extra points for its Titans/Jaguars highlights:

Finally, to round out the humor, The Onion had this funny take on how "empowering" ads can be if they celebrate Latino culture.

If you want to comment on the commercials above (are they relevant?) or if you want to suggest a different one (maybe another primarily English commercial peppered with Spanish), let me know what you think in the comments below, via the contact link above, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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