The Acceleration of Latinos


By Gustavo Razzetti (ClickZ)

The third day at Hispanicize 2012, the place where Latinos tell the truth, happened in fast motion. Hundreds of professionals were hopping from one conference to another while millions were listening via social media. According to Adrian Carrasquillo, social media manager for NBC Latino, the conversation around #hispz12 generated 30.5 million impressions in the first two days, reaching more than 4 million people.

The Acceleration of Everything

Mark Lopez, head of U.S. Hispanic at Google, started the fire with impactful data about technology adoption. It took 360 days for the iPod to reach 1 million units, 74 days for the iPhone, and only 28 days for the iPad to reach that same goal. It’s clear that screens are fragmenting: still there’s a big audience on TV; the experience should be complemented by timely online content.

The explosion is also evidenced in the Latino population, where search has grown 11 times in the past five years among Hispanics.

“People don’t go to a specific site; they use search to find content and then land on a website,” said Mr. Lopez. “Digital needs to be open and scalable.”

The executive emphasized how Google is working on making sure that ads are more relevant in order to improve the user experience. Video is playing a major role, but with every 10 days a century is uploaded to YouTube, so engaging the audience is becoming more challenging. Creative agencies have 5 seconds to engage consumers before they skip an online video. The upside is that Google doesn’t charge advertisers if a user skips a pre-roll commercial.

Lopez addressed the challenges of using Google for search. “Forget about algorithms; marketers should impact conversations with paid results,” he said. Regarding language, Latinos’ searches happen in English and Spanish, so you need to make it culturally relevant. Talking about content, Google’s 100 new channels will generate 9,000 original TV hours annually across 18 genres.

Later today, Google reported a 24 percent rise in Q1 revenue – clear evidence that when Mark talked about the acceleration of everything, he really meant everything.

The Acceleration of Culture

Our panel on New Generation Latinos generated lots of reactions (both live and on Twitter). David Chitel, founder of the New Generation Latino Consortium (NGLC), shared the new realities of Latinos in America. Bicultural, English-dominant/bilingual, urban, mostly U.S.-born, majority under 40 – these are some of the key descriptors of the NGLC.

Javier Farfan shared PepsiCo’s vision about multicultural marketing. When he joined the organization, his team name changed from multicultural to a more inclusive “cultural branding.” “It’s not about talking to a specific segment or using a specific language, it’s about connecting to human values,” the executive said. A sample of case studies was enough to demonstrate his approach. A partnership with “Machete” star Danny Trejo for Brisk; hiring Sofia Vergara as the spokesperson for Diet Pepsi with commercials that air on English TV; and leveraging David Beckham’s connection with Latinos.

My presentation focused on challenging the Latino marketing community (agencies, clients, and media), asking, “Will we repeat the same mistake?”

Ad agencies and media put the Latino consumer in a cage: they speak Spanish, and consume Spanish media – primarily TV. The realities that Chitel shared didn’t happen in a day. So now that clients are being exposed to this new face of Latinos, we are at risk for putting Latino consumers in another cage: they speak English, consume English media, and are heavy online consumers. This new “stereotype” might prevent companies from doing cultural branding.

Data and consumer behavior shows that Latinos’ reality is more complex, showing a more bilingual behavior when it comes to language and media usage. And this is also true for second-generation Hispanics.

We must learn from the media. As you can see on the chart below, the media is exploring new options, specifically targeting Latinos. Why would NBC or FOX or Google invest millions in creating new media options (either in Spanish or both) if their current English content is already “capturing” Latinos’ preferences?

Technology has redefined acculturation by both accelerating and slowing its process. Consumers can learn how to navigate American culture much faster, but can also stay connected to their original country via Skype, to name an example. Latinos’ unique bicultural expression is about adding new interests rather than replacing it. In the meantime, when it comes to advertising, Latinos don’t feel ads speak to their ethnicity. Latinos don’t want to follow but rather be perceived as influencers. They want to be portrayed as both mainstream and unique when it comes to advertising.

The acceleration of everything has also impacted Latinos. The cage is gone!

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Categories: NGLC Conference

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