Imagine Saturday night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: All the restaurants, shops, and bustling life. For those who are not familiar with the area, Williamsburg is a very hip melting pot of cultures, nationalities and socioeconomic strata in an ex-industrial Brooklyn, N.Y., setting. In the heart of it all, on the iconic North 6th Street, a wedding party walked into an Italian osteria for a dinner reception, following the ceremony that took place in a friend’s apartment a few blocks away.
What does that have to do with Hispanic advertising, you may ask? Well, the groom is from Spain, raised in Venezuela, and is also an iconic figure of the Hispanic advertising world in New York. The bride, who has been a producer in some of the most important Hispanic ad agencies in New York, is originally from the Dominican Republic.
The attendees were a mélange of nationalities from all over Latin America, the U.S. and even Spain. There were guests of all ages, and some of them were first, second or even third generation in this country. Many had attended school in the U.S.; many in their countries of origin. Some were still in school; some were retired.
Both Spanish and English were spoken at the tables, but when it came time for the speeches, Spanish was the main language used—even by the gringos. The task of communicating translation to non-speakers was left to the nearest Spanish-speaking person, or simply to the universal language of human commonality. From what I could see, everyone laughed in unison at the jokes and responded mostly the same way to the stories. The night was all about celebration and joy, connecting with old friends and meeting new ones.
In spite of statistics and studies, what I witnessed was a real-life example that, no matter the level of acculturation, or education, or country of origin, or age, most Latinos do revert back to their mother tongue when it comes to significant matters, such as emotional connections and sharing in joy and love.
This is reflected in the rankings of TV and radio networks like Univision. Currently the undisputed number 1 network in the country among Adults 18-49 (+21%) and Adults 18-34 (+20%), the Spanish-language network will conclude the July sweep as the number 1 network with Young Persons 12-34, with a 30% advantage over their nearest competitor, Fox.
Does this mean that a reverse trend is happening now, such that advertising in Spanish should be the main focus and we should throw away all the data? Do buzz words like “multicultural” and “integrated marketing”no longer apply? I don’t think so.
What I’m sure of is that in order to reach Hispanic consumers, what matters more than the language is that the message shows an intimate and detailed understanding of what it is to be Latino, or Hispanic. Brands must be able to show that they can laugh and cry and celebrate with us in unison. It sure would make for a sweet union between brand and consumer.