There’s one sentence that Hispanic ad agencies fear most during a pitch. It’s actually a question. And it’s being asked by increasingly skeptical CMOs under pressure to justify major dollar spends in ethnic-specific ad campaigns:
“What’s Hispanic about it?”
Nothing else deflates Hispanic agencies more, because it calls their very existence into question. As Latinos assimilate in greater numbers into mainstream American society, so will their consumer preferences. U.S. brands will increasingly be able to factor them into Total Market campaign strategies without having to carve out separate dollars for a dedicated Hispanic approach. It’s a sensible move. After a certain generational point, why does my sales pitch for the Garcías have to be any different from the Joneses’?
Folks at Buick appear to have asked themselves that very question. In a surprisingly resonant English-language spot for the 2014 Enclave, they deftly speak to U.S. Latinos without alienating Anglo consumers by screaming: This-Is-A-Latino-Spot-With-Latino-Characters-Talking-About-Latino-Insights-In-Spanish-or-Spanglish-With-A-Hot-Tamale-Graphic-Slap-On-The-Logo.
It’s a simple premise, simply executed. And it speaks volumes. In America, we’re no longer keeping up with the Joneses. It’s the Garcías who set the standard. And you don’t have to hear this explicitly stated in dialogue or see it prominently displayed on a supertitle to get the point.
Thank you, Buick.
Compare this spot with GM’s 2012 Chevy Cruze “Ana & David” ad, featuring a set of safety-obsessed Latino parents hovering over their young son, “Toñito.”
Charming. But does it reflect a uniquely Hispanic insight? (Anglo helicopter parents are not exactly unusual.) Perhaps this is why the spot ran prominently on Anglo TV, featuring Tim Allen’s soothing sotto voce. And even more tellingly, the spot also ran in Canada (though the boy’s name was discretely changed to “Lucas” north of the border.)
In the end, aren’t we all the same?
Pretty much. So why should our advertising be that different?
Try telling that to Hispanic ad shops still clinging to Hispanic-only marketing strategies. For the rest of us—absent a larger holding company tossing over the Hispanic slice of their Anglo business—the message is loud and clear:
Adapt or die.