"Out-of-home" advertising such as billboards and transit system posters may lack the glamour of television and magazines, but it delivers customers at the door. And it's especially effective with the Hispanic market, insiders say.
At least one study finds that Hispanics "are far more likely to be influenced by outdoor advertising than non-Hispanics," according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), which sponsored the research. The study, which involved freeway-traveling car passengers wearing eye-tracking "glasses," found that while Hispanic subjects noticed and read billboards with the same frequency as non-Hispanics, 96 percent of Hispanics reported liking outdoor advertising, compared with 87 percent of non-Hispanics.
Even more importantly, 76 percent of Hispanics said they would be influenced by outdoor ads, compared with only 41 percent of non-Hispanics.
"The implication is that Hispanics pay attention to out-of-home advertising and they are likely to be receptive to and motivated by out-of-home communication," the report states. Why that is, however, is open to speculation. Pedro Milian Jr., vice-president of multicultural sales at Clear Channel, says he segments the Hispanic market into foreign-born and U.S.-born, attributing the higher statistical receptiveness of U.S. Hispanics to the powerful presence outdoor advertising has in Latin America. Foreign-born Hispanics bring that awareness with them to the U.S. market.
Outdoor Players Do the Numbers
The other factor at work is that "many outdoor advertising companies recognize the growing prominence of this demographic group and the enormous spending power Hispanic consumers represent," says Stephen Feitas, the OAAA's chief marketing officer.
Several of the largest billboard companies now have special divisions or sales teams for the Hispanic market. They include Viacom Outdoor Latino, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Entravision Communications. Clear Channel's "big focus is the Hispanic market, because that's where the business has been," attests Mr. Milian. "We are sold out on Hispanic space every month. People are buying six, seven, eight months in advance. There is a limited inventory, and people want to place their message before these [Hispanic] consumers."
Certainly the geographical concentration of Hispanics works to outdoor's advantage. "Outdoor is all about location, location, location," and "boards in Hispanic neighborhoods are more effective," says Chris Young, president of Vista Media, a subsidiary of Entravision. "We have inventory in place for decades in neighborhoods that have evolved over time to become Hispanic."
Mr. Young says most of his 11,000 billboards are in Los Angeles and New York, and other companies have similar clusters of boards in heavily Hispanic cities. "Out-door advertising reaches consumers when they are in the marketplace, near the point of sale, and at times when they are more inclined to make purchase decisions," says the OAAA's Mr. Freitas.
Who's Doing the Advertising?
Mr. Young says national buys account for about two-thirds of Vista Media's revenues, with the other third from local advertisers.
Large corporate accounts usually buy boards in batches of 20 or more. Growth sectors include healthcare, banks, fast food, theme parks, and airlines. Mr. Milian mentions automotive, telecommunications, consumer goods, mortgage companies, and the military.
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