Twenty-five years ago, Hispanics occupied nearly all of the executive, creative, and copywriting positions in the then-smaller Hispanic advertising industry. General market advertising conglomerates also lacked Hispanic divisions and few Latin America-based media conglomerates targeted U.S. Hispanic consumers.
Now, a growing variety of media companies based in Latin America and Mexico are chasing Hispanic consumers, Hispanic advertising agencies are hiring talent in droves from the two regions, and practically every general market advertising agency interested in owning a Hispanic agency has bought or launched such a unit.
Marketing to Hispanics in the United States and the media that delivers it are taking on a Latin flavor as a consequence of globalization. Latin American television and cable networks, publishing companies, and other media all want a piece of the fast-growing and increasingly diverse U.S. Hispanic consumer market.
Hispanic media executives say that the growing global influence on U.S. Hispanic-oriented media is inevitable, and the impact is mixed.
"Is it going to be the most effective way to connect with all levels of U.S. Hispanic consumers? Perhaps the more upscale, more global and educated consumers, yes. But there are multiple segments of the Hispanic market. The diversity of that market makes connection more difficult," says Daisy Exposito, chair and CEO of New York-based D Exposito & Partners and former chair and CEO of The Bravo Group, a Hispanic agency also based in New York.
According to media executives, the internationalization of U.S. Hispanic marketing and media has the advantage of giving Hispanic consumers more media options.
However as advertising executives turn to advertising professionals from Latin America to fill what they say is a shortage of U.S. Hispanic Spanish-speaking talent, some in the industry see a downside. Advertising professionals fresh from Latin America don't fully understand the U.S. Hispanic consumer market, its historical roots and marketing complexities, they say, so some advertising campaigns may not reflect the unique cultural sensibilities of U.S. Hispanics. Global advertising conglomerates with Hispanic units take business away from small independent Hispanic agencies.
The globalization of media and marketing to Hispanic consumers occurs as they become more internationally diverse themselves. People with Mexican roots dominate the U.S. Hispanic population, as they have for decades. Mexicans account for about 65 percent of Hispanics, according to the U.S. Census. Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, and Dominicans represent about 20 percent of Hispanics, and the remaining 15 percent come from every other Latin American country.
The diversity is more apparent in certain regions. In Florida, for example, Cubans were once by far the fastest-growing Hispanic group. Currently, the number of non-Cuban Hispanics is growing at a faster rate than the number of Cuban Americans.
Latin American Influence
The growing size and diversity of the U.S. Hispanic market attracts Latin America-based media of all types, for example Azteca America, the U.S. Spanish-language subsidiary of Mexican television network TV Azteca, which targets Hispanics with affiliates nationwide. Cable television channels and satellite services bring more than 75 Spanish-language channels into U.S. Hispanic homes, according to the Cable Advertising Bureau, a New York-based industry trade group. Channels specialize in news, sports, entertainment, movies, and other areas. The channels originate in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Spain, and several other Spanish-speaking countries.
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