- Friday, Jun. 22, 2007
"While there's a huge opportunity in the Hispanic market, we don't feel the need to be boxed into that," relates Laurie Malaga, director of production at Miami agency la comunidad.
"Yes, we have Remy Martin as a general market client but it goes beyond that," she continues. "The Hispanic dynamic is exploding in popular culture. Having insight into Latin culture is becoming essential for insights into the general market, especially in the youth market. This can be a great advantage for Hispanic agencies who realize that you have to evolve with the culture and it's all part of a bigger picture--and a disadvantage for those agencies who just want to keep their Hispanic niche and don't see how it's affecting the general market and how the general market is impacting the Hispanic culture. If you want to be a great Hispanic agency, you have to be open to this expansive relationship and connection."
Malaga notes that there remain agencies who like to stay inside their box and make good money by virtue of being specialists. "But if you don't take into account how Hispanic culture is meshing into pop culture and the general market, you will wind up losing that specialty box."
In that big picture spirit, longstanding Southern California agency davidandgoliath has opened a fully integrated Hispanic division, dñg, securing Universal Studios Hollywood as a client as well as taking on work for Kia Motors America on a project basis, including the recent launch of Kia's crossover utility vehicle Rondo. Universal Studios Hollywood and Kia are long-time davidandgoliath accounts.
As an integrated division, dñg teams with davidandgoliath from the outset to develop a campaign that is connected and consistent. "We understand that the general market is highly multicultural," says davidandgoliath Chairman/Chief Creative Officer David Angelo. "Because we believe that a brand's essence should not be dramatically altered when targeting different audiences, we are thrilled to be able to launch dñg as an integral daily part of our creative campaigns. Instead of being an afterthought to mainstream campaign and strategy, the Hispanic market is connected to the mainstream effort and developed as part of that from its inception.
"This translates into more synergy for the brand than when you have a brand with two different messages out there," he continues. "Hispanic consumers--particularly the young--are looking at mainstream English and Spanish language media. We want to make sure wherever they are that they are getting the same brand message."
Brought in to lead dñg is Adela Romero, who most recently spearheaded the Hispanic marketing and advertising programs for several McDonald's markets in the Western United States as management supervisor at agency Castells & Asociados, Los Angeles. These markets ranged from Los Angeles--a Hispanic market bellwether--to smaller developing Hispanic markets like Medford and Yakima in the Pacific Northwest.
Romero also served on McDonald's national Hispanic advertising committees and task forces.
Romero notes that the norm has seen advertisers recognize the importance of the Hispanic market and gravitate to a dedicated or separate Hispanic specialty agency. "What this has led to," she observes, "is sometimes the Hispanic communications are planned and executed in a vacuum. The work ends up being focused on the differences between segments--often the differences between mainstream and Hispanics who are rooted in Spanish language-dominated lifestyles. This results in schizophrenic messages about the brand--different in one market as compared to another. And the consumers who are multicultural and are exposed to different media experience that schizophrenia in the form of mixed messages."
Romero says that an integrated, holistic approach "helps us ground our work not in the differences but in fundamental values, universal emotions, finding commonality between very diverse segments, which is even more important when we target the youth market. The youth are redefining what the mainstream audience is. Hispanic youth helps shape and influence the general market, particularly in California. Mainstream communications are being shaped by Latino influence and to try to separate the two is counterproductive."
A step back
Angelo adds that it's beneficial to "take a step back and recognize what's happened in the world over the last 10 years. Technology has helped us learn more about each other's cultures. There are multicultural production companies and agencies working in different countries. The more we all get out all over the world, the more we see that we are connected.
"This," continues Angelo, "is reflected in our creative department today where there are people from all walks of life. Creatives from Germany, Argentina, Japan. We are gaining a greater sense of each other's cultures now. And along those lines, the people we've hired here for dñg are not only Hispanic experts in their field but also have a great sense of general marketing. I'm getting two for one here with that kind of experience--people like Adela and Juan Camilo, a creative director who works here. So we're not just looking at this talent for its expertise in a particular market...We're looking for them to come up with the big idea. With an integrated approach, you're more likely to come up with the big idea, to achieve efficiencies for the brand across the board, to maximize every message out there."
Angelo observes that the buzz word "integration" spans media and cultures. Overseeing integration at davidandgoliath is Tesa Aragones, who joined the agency last year, bringing multicultural marketing experience for Volkswagen and Pontiac to the shop. For Aragones, integration is indeed across all areas, such as the dñg division, digital and media to help ensure campaigns are fully integrated. For dñg, Hispanic insights are incorporated at the inception of business strategy development on mainstream campaigns so that the right message is delivered not only to the Hispanic market but the mainstream community at large.
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., davidandgoliath is an independent agency with field offices in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. It is the agency of record for such clients as Kia, Universal Orlando and Hollywood, and Bacardi brands. The shop was founded in November 1999.
A notable example of keeping consistency in brand personality across Hispanic and mainstream markets is creative work for the California Milk Processor Board account. The famed, longstanding yet still evolving "got milk?" campaign has been a staple in American advertising from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.
But the companion campaign in the Hispanic market had been quite different, including an approach centering on "Familia, Amor y Leche" (Family, Love and Milk). A little more than two years ago, agency Grupo Gallegos, Long Beach, Calif., landed the milk account and decided to go with a campaign that was consistent in its light-hearted tone and special brand of humor with the spirit of Goodby's "got milk?"
The Grupo Gallegos effort included such spots in the "Toma Leche" ("Drink Milk") campaign as "Teeth" where people's choppers are strengthened by milk so that they can chomp down and carry heavy objects all over town, "Amazon Hair Goddess" in which a village of women use their long locks to amazing ends, including lassoing a wild horse, "Amazing Contortionist" in which the milk-aided anatomical flexibility of a family is beyond belief and the offbeat "Dream Town."
The latter takes us to a fantasy land in which people get whatever luxury/sports car they desire, there are lottery-winning masses, a man has an eye on the back of his head so that he can be attentive to his wife and baby in the foreground while watching sports on TV in the background--in short, everybody's dreams come true. In the last scenario of the commercial, we see a teen boy drinking a glass of milk before going to bed. That's because milk helps everyone get a good night's sleep and the better you sleep, the better you dream. As he nods off, four young, hot-looking, swimsuit-clad women sing him a lullaby in his bedroom.
Juan Oubina, group creative director at Grupo Gallegos, explains that it can be a costly mistake to make too great a distinction between U.S. Hispanic and so-called mainstream English-language advertising. Hence the consistency in the milk board campaign.
"You don't want a schizophrenic brand that has one personality in the English-language market and another in the Hispanic market," he says. "You have to maintain consistency in brand personality because many Hispanic viewers are watching both English and Spanish-language television. Essentially, we're one market."