Embracing the Hispanic market

Feb 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Television’s genuine boom demographic of the past three recession-hit years is the Hispanic market, the meteoric growth of which has caused headaches as well as generated opportunities for buyers and, particularly, planners.
Too large now to be considered a niche but uniquely different from the mainstream in both language and viewing habits, the Hispanic market demands specialist planning and buying skills and perhaps a whole new set of tools.
Last week the Grey Group recognized this double-edged sword. It launched a new partnership, MediaCom Latino, a joint venture that merges MediaCom’s proprietary media buying, measurement and optimization tools and buying clout with Wing Latino Group’s Hispanic marketing communications expertise, notably planning.
The idea is to combine talent and particularly knowledge, that has been operating disparately, albeit within the same group. Perhaps a little simplistically, it brings together the experience and cultural understanding of Wing Latino with the proprietary mindset of MediaCom.
Just how great is the potential? According to MediaCom, Hispanics currently represent 13 percent of the total U.S. population and consumer spending power of $581 billion. However, total spend on advertising to Hispanics at $2.2 billion is in relatively modest proportion to those numbers.
Jon Mandel, the co-CEO of MediaCom, sees this as “undeniably missing a huge opportunity.” Spend in the sector has increased by an astonishing average of 22 percent in each of the past five years, but then the Hispanic population is growing at four times the rate of the rest of the United States.
“MediaCom Latino will guide marketers through the burgeoning Hispanic marketplace and use our proprietary media tools and internal experts, who possess a deep understanding of the media habits, culture and language of Hispanic consumers, in order to lead advertisers in this new media environment,” Mr. Mandel said.
Spanish-language media ranks No. 1 in New York and Los Angeles. Though the proliferation of media outlets in the sector has contributed hugely to this growth, and radio in particular has boomed, television is the mainstay of this idiosyncratic demographic.
Telemundo (acquired last year by NBC) and Univision have each launched new channels recently, MunDos and Telefutura, but it is the main brands that are enjoying extraordinary loyalty.
Series like “El Clon” (The Clone) on Telemundo and the hugely successful soap “Between Love and Hate” on Univision dominate the ratings. Soaps of all kinds continue to be the heart of scheduling.
“The trend is toward segmentation, but the core segment of the population [is] very loyal to Univision and Telemundo,” said Jackie Bird, president and CEO of Wing Latino Group. “the Hispanic sector is not actually as segmented as the general marketplace or, for instance, the urban sector, because there is one homogeneous factor: language.”
The relative dearth of universally acceptable measurement tools and research has also had the effect of throwing more of the onus on planning that is both creative and seen to be working.
“Most advertisers recognize the potential, but they struggle that the marketplace has not had the research or tools available in other areas,” she continues. “MediaCom has had the Maxis optimizer tool validated for use in the Hispanic market.”
A planner talking about buying tools in this way reflects the general sense of professional urgency with which clients are now approaching the market. Procter & Gamble, now a MediaCom Latino client (as are Diageo, Panasonic, GSK and Slimfast) had to develop some of its own tools, for example.
Mediacom Latino is not the first buying/planning venture of its kind in the sector- Starcom Mediavest Group’s Tapestry is another-but with the kind of clients it has and in the market context discussed above, we can be sure it will not be the last.