Kathy Whitlock, Vice President - Strategy & Insights
Blog Advertising Insights

Creative 101: Principles for Reaching and Engaging Hispanics

By Kathy Whitlock, Vice President - Strategy & Insights

Jan 29, 2016

Adaption, translation, shadow shooting, and spokespeople… options abound when determining how to go about developing new Hispanic creative. To help answer which creative strategies make an impact with Hispanic consumers, this year at Leading the Change, we turned to the person who wrote the book on it –literally. Ola Mobolade is the author of Marketing to the New Majority, a marketer’s how-to guide on developing integrated campaigns that connect with today’s culturally diverse consumers, and is Managing Director at Firefly Millward Brown, a robust database of Hispanic ad performance. In short, Ola knows what works and what doesn’t in Hispanic creative, guiding marketers to recognize that “there’s no magic recipe, but there are key ingredients.” Given that marketers are often looking for insights to optimize their Hispanic creative, I thought I’d share some of Ola’s key “ingredients” below.

Frontload Hispanic Insights: As Ola dove into the importance of targeted advertising (creative developed for, or adapted with Hispanics in mind), a phrase in Spanish came to mind— lo barato sale caro (or, “you get what you pay for”). When brands embark on foundational work (establishing brand positioning, developing communications, etc.), the status quo is to test against the general population and ultimately make the insights work for Hispanic. But, as Ola appropriately questioned, “What if that foundational insight upon which all of this pipeline work is done is not resonating with Hispanic consumers? Then, you have a much more expensive problem than the idea of finding the money to test the execution against [those] consumers.” Ola highlighted the opportunity in testing a Hispanic strategy from inception. Not only does it allow the exploration of how a universal human insight that can resonate across groups, but it empowers the brand to clearly understand the role that culture plays in creative success.

The Devil is in the Details: Whether culturally-specific or not, great advertising is instinctive. However, adding cultural flavor can take an ad from good to great; as Ola states “you’re not educating your consumers about Hispanic culture, you’re telling a story about your brand in a culturally-relevant way”. Here is how adding elements Hispanics will enjoy can help your brand resonate more.

  • Humor: When it comes to comedy, irreverent humor is king with Hispanics. Hispanics are more open to self-deprecating humor and will let you go a little bit further than other segments.
  • Music and Celebrities: Millward Brown reveals that ads without music don’t score as well with Hispanics in comparison to general population. The use of celebrities is another favorite advertising element with Hispanics. If you’re using celebrities, make sure they fit the brand’s image and message—you don’t want the celebrity to overshadow the brand.
  • Family: The importance of family is a universal concept. And with Hispanics, showing children as part of the family environment is an effective cultural cue.

The takeaway: targeted communication works harder for your brand than mainstream work. And in a thriving cross-cultural nation, audiences are receptive to diverse messages. Ola recalled an example where Coca Cola featured Salma Hayek in one of their Hispanic ads. However, general market consumers didn’t realize the execution was a Hispanic ad until the tagline at the end. Hispanic influences are having a profound effect on American culture; don’t be afraid to push the creative envelope with your brands.

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