There is a variety of strategies on how to best advertise to Hispanic targets. While some tactics can be effective, many are built on myths that no longer particularly work. It’s easy to stereotype an audience, and then address them as such. But the 55 million individual Hispanic consumers in the U.S. are definitely not monolithic, nor should they be stereotyped.
When advertising is created based on commonly held beliefs about what works, it often results in creative that fails to break through and persuade. Many Hispanic campaigns are built based on the following.
1. Hispanics respond best to ads that show family interactions
While family interactions can work, they work best when combined with a compelling storyline. But the story should ring true to the viewer – a mom and daughter shopping together for holiday gifts is relatable, while a single dad interacting with his young children is less so. And to differentiate the brand, the story should be woven around the brand in a way that makes the brand the hero of the story. Otherwise, the story will entertain, but not persuade.
2. When advertising to Hispanic males, using sexy females is the way to go
Ads that use beautiful babes, and particularly those that are depicted as being attracted to a male figure, do tend to get the attention of Hispanic (and non-Hispanic) men. But, as with family stories, unless the brand plays a key role (e.g., helping the guy to get the girl…), this engagement isn’t likely to pay off.
3. Music is key to engaging and persuading Hispanic targets
Sure, some music-driven spots do well, but many don’t. Music combined with quick cuts – montages of happy families (to engage women) and beautiful females (to attract men) – often aren’t particularly effective among Hispanic audiences. On the other hand, if the music is catchy and appealing, helps to tell a unique and compelling story about the brand, you may have a winner on your hands. As a side note, we have seen a number of ads with cute kids dancing to catchy music be quite successful among Hispanic females – as long as the dance has something to do with the brand.
4. Because of language issues, using highly visual approaches in video is the best route to take with Hispanic targets
This conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. Hispanic consumers, like non-Hispanic consumers, are drawn into stories. Usually, telling a story requires some sort of audio track – whether a conversation, a voice over, or even a song. By relying on visuals and not telling a story, advertisers are missing out on the opportunity to engage and persuade an audience that is heavily driven to video advertising.
However, incorporating strong visual brand cues can be effective in generating brand linkage. Often, advertisers who have developed strong brand cues amongst the general market miss the opportunity to carry these cues across to their Hispanic-targeted advertising. Because most of the Hispanic target has also seen your general market campaign, the strong visual (or non-visual, for that matter) equities that have been developed and nurtured within your general market campaign should definitely be made a part of Hispanic-targeted creative.
So, what is the key to success in Hispanic-targeted advertising? Success takes us back to the basics of targeted communications: get to know the audience, who they are and what they care about—then, build a story that speaks to them (and not the stereotype), and one that is woven around your brand, using time-tested brand-linked equities to ensure that the campaign works to build a relevant and differentiated brand. And don’t be wedded to conventional wisdom, or you may end up with a conventional and non-differentiated, brand.