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Ad Budgets Trail Growth

Sep 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The floodgates are open and new companies sense the profit potential of the domestic Hispanic market, which encompasses the 38.8 million resident Latinos in the United States and their projected buying power of $764 billion within two years. There’s a lot going on, which creates new buying opportunities for both Spanish- and English-language marketers.

The two established networks, market leader Univision and its TeleFutura and Galavision channels and NBC-owned Telemundo and mun2 have been joined by a third national network, Azteca America, which is represented by 24 affiliates, including low-power stations.

Si TV to Launch

Bilingual Hispanics, who are the target for mun2 and the recently launched children’s network Sopreso, are also the focus for the soon-to-debut Si TV, the launch of which will create a new venue for English-language advertisers.

Cable system operators, including Time Warner, Cablevision and Comcast, have created Latin digital tier packages that feature multiple Latin networks to attract new subscribers. Satellite companies DISH Network and EchoStar also are building arrays of select Latin programming.

Spanish-Language Sports

ESPN will unveil its Spanish-language network ESPN Deportes this fall in a field already represented by Fox Sports World Espa ‘ol. ABC Cable Networks Group and the Outdoor Channel are looking to move into Latin TV; ABC is considering a kids’ network; and the Outdoor Channel is weighing a spinoff that would include original Spanish-language programs as well as dubbed shows from its English-language channel. Scripps Networks is exploring a lifestyle channel as well.

Telemundo is producing novelas in its new Miami studios and other shows in its bureaus in New York and Los Angeles and blending them with programming created in other Latin nations. Parent NBC recently ran first-time promotions in prime time on “Fear Factor” and “For Love or Money” for two of Telemundo’s new series, “Amor Descarado” and “La Cenicienta,” which debut Monday, Sept. 8. The spots were in English and Spanish with subtitles included in the clips from the two series.

Broadcasting’s hot romance with things Latin is even affecting syndication. “Urban Latino TV,” an English-language weekly half-hour focusing on young domestic Hispanics, premiered its second season Oct. 6 in 45 markets, including New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Tampa, Fla., Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Corpus Christi, Texas. The cultural/lifestyle series ran last year in 26 markets. Robert Rose, the show’s executive producer and president of distributor Artist and Idea Management of New York, indicates sponsors include Colgate-Palmolive (Siboney agency), Toyota (Saatchi & Saatchi), Volkswagen (MPG), Anheuser-Busch (Busch Media) and Universal Pictures (Arenas Group).

“Hispanic television is a tough, competitive market, and we welcome the competition because it’s good for viewers and allows us to negotiate better deals for our clients,” said Gloria Constanza, senior VP, director of media services for New York-based Bravo Group, one of several agencies under the WPP Group umbrella company. “Competition allows you to get more added-value features for clients, like product integration, without abusing it. With people switching channels so often, you want to make sure your messages are seen.”

While Ms. Constanza feels the Azteca network’s programming-which originates from Mexico City- is correctly aimed at the dominant domestic Mexican majority, she believes “distribution is an issue for advertisers.”

Ad Sales Lag

Despite the gush of enthusiasm from programmers, Madison Avenue lags behind the growth in this branch of broadcasting. The Association of Hispanic Ad Agencies reports 3.2 percent of national ad budgets go to Hispanic media.

Ms. Constanza bemoans the fact that “when you look at the general market losing audience while its CPMs keep going up, it’s crazy.” Meg Bernot-Rodriquez, Bravo’s senior VP, managing partner, points to “inventory supply and demand as driving the economics of the market.”

The Bravo Group buys time on Univision, Telemundo and TeleFutura for Sears and Kraft; Fox Sports En Espa ‘ol for Sears, mun2 for Kraft and Sears. The agency eschews niche cable channels with their small circulation.

Bravo ran English and Spanish ads for Sears’ new Lucy Pereda fashion line, featuring clothing by the Cuban-born Galavision and Radio Unica personality sometimes referred to as “the Hispanic Martha Stewart.” A Spanish spot will start running Sept. 18 on Univision, Telemundo, TeleFutura and Galavision.

Stephanie Baca, senior VP, director of client services, for Anita Santiago Advertising of Santa Monica, Calif., blames for the discrepancy between Spanish and Anglo spending on a lack of knowledge within corporate America. “While clients see companies successfully targeting the Hispanic market, they don’t have enough information about the strength of the marketplace,” she said. “But it will take a while for budgets to get to the proper levels.”

With companies not always having total national distribution, Ms. Baca said her buys are on a local spot level. As for cable specialty networks, when she’s looking for young demos she likes Mas Musica, which “is culturally relevant to young people, since it plays regional Mexican music, banda and pop. We buy the California Milk Processor Board and the California Department of Health Services anti-smoking campaign.”

Ms. Baca points to the spending of one of Santiago’s clients, Wells Fargo Bank, as an example of this disparity. “Well Fargo has $30 million for the general market and we’ll end up with $3 [million to] $4 million. Less than one-third goes for Hispanic marketing. There are some exceptions, but it’s a good rule of thumb.”

Ingrid Iannotti, the agency’s senior VP, media director, calls the difference between Spanish and English CPMs “huge,” noting that in L.A. as well in other markets, “you’re looking at an average $12 per thousand for Spanish-language vs. $44 for general-market stations.”

Among its clients’ new products are Carl Jr.’s charbroiled chicken sandwich, PacifiCare’s Secure Horizon’s Medicare Plus Choice medical insurance package, and Wells Fargo’s Latino Gold Package of bank services, which tests in Phoenix Sept. 15.

Bilingual Hispanics represent the next “evolution” in spending, Jessica Pantanini, VP, media director, at San Antonio-based Bromley Communications believes. “It’s a hot political topic involving who should target these people, considering they use English media but are underserved by Hispanic media,” she said. She cites research that indicates 60 percent of bilinguals prefer English-language TV vs. 40 percent who favor Hispanic TV. There is also research showing that bilinguals speak Spanish at home with their parents and English outside the home.

Procter & Gamble, one of the agency’s clients, is advertising its new Crest White Strips tooth enhancer on a variety of Hispanic broadcast and cable networks. Its other clients include Burger King, Continental Airlines, Sprint, Masterfoods, Avon and the Office of National Drug Control & Policy. Last year the agency bought time for Crest on the Latin Grammy awards show on CBS as well as on Univision, Telemundo and mun2.

Growing Population

How is the nation’s exploding Hispanic population impacting ad agencies? “You now need to start placing schedules four to five weeks out to gain inventory. Four years ago you could buy media one-two weeks before,” explained Sophia Escamille, media director for La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, the 17-year-old L.A. independent Hispanic marketing agency. She finds inventory especially tight in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and San Diego. “Inventories get real tight during Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic Heritage Month, Mexican Independence Day, the back-to-school period and during the regular calendar holidays.”

The agency buys time on a number of English-language cable networks with strong Hispanic viewership, including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, MTV and ESPN. A spot for the Honda Civic on ESPN and MTV, which attracts Hispanic
males, began in July and runs through the end of the year.

Ms. Escamille cites Comcast as a cable systems operator that “we are doing a lot of business with, since it is pushing Nielsen to measure Hispanic homes using its Nielsen Hispanic Station Index methodology on a spot level in Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. We purchase cable using the NHSI numbers.”

With the domestic Hispanic market a cauldron of cultural communities, how do you create a commercial that appeals to the many diverse nationalities from Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America where word and images may have different acceptance levels?

“You have to find words that don’t offend anyone,” she said. “If you try to be too hip or cool or urban, you’ll come up with words that won’t have the same meaning for everybody. But words aren’t as big a factor as stressing that people come to the U.S. from different backgrounds to have a better life, and that ties together everyone with a Hispanic culture. Anything that aspires to improve family rings true for everybody.”