As companies celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recent high-profile mistakes show what not to do, as well as what companies can do, in hopes of appealing to a Latino audience.
According to Trinidad Aguirre, a Hispanic marketing consultant, some marketing efforts are downright commendable, using tacos, sombreros and the Mexican flag in hopes of appealing to members of the Hispanic community.
“It’s honestly common in my experience. Big brands try to do these things without really trying to understand our diverse culture, aren’t they, and they often miss the mark time and time again,” he said. he told NPR.
Aguirre said some companies have made genuine efforts to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, which occurs from September 15 to October 15 each year, while others simply see it as a chance to generate additional business.
Hispanics and Latinos make up about 19% of the US population. And with an estimated spending power of $1.9 trillion, it’s important for businesses and organizations to get it right with their messaging.
“If you’re going to get it wrong, don’t do it. But if you try and do it right, it will pay dividends,” Aguirre said.
Here are some examples of the pros and cons of Hispanic Heritage Month marketing efforts.
A blunder from DC Comics
In an early attempt to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, DC Comics revealed a series of comic book covers in June, which sparked outrage online when readers saw DC heroes carrying bags of tamales and one holding a flag that said Long live Mexico!!
“There’s nothing that speaks to me in that; all I see is offense,” Aguirre said. “I just don’t understand it.”
The images more or less show superheroes in poses with assorted Latin American food in hand, which Aguirre says tells Hispanic comic book fans that’s how DC Comics views Hispanics.
“Is this how you see our culture? Mexican cuisine for all, is that all we are for you? said Aguirre.
A good start for the NFL, followed by a fumble
The National Football League’s tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month was a big hit, Aguirre said, until the organization decided to put a tilde on the N in the logo. Many Twitter users described the league’s attempt as lazy, noting that there is no tilde in it. nationalthe Spanish word for national.
The league’s Por La Cultura campaign has also been well done, according to Aguirre. He thinks the NFL has done a good job of incorporating multiple Hispanic communities, not just people of Mexican descent, into a 30-second commercial, which shows a diverse group of Hispanics, has a sense of family and is also available in English. like spanish.
Aguirre said he liked that towards the end of the ad, an array of flags could be seen behind the NFL logo before eventually becoming the American flag, which he said was an important detail on which the league has focused on.
“Because we still think of ourselves as Americans, right? We’re proud of our culture. We’re proud of our heritage…but we’re also proud Americans. So they did a great job there. -down,” Aguirre said. “It was tasteful until the eñe, in my opinion.”
A Subtle Example Companies Should Look For
Aguirre said the best ad he’s seen came from Wells Fargo in 2013. It was simple: a young woman walks into a welcoming home full of family members, elated with her first salary. The young woman and her family speak primarily English with some Spanish words and phrases, which is common in Hispanic and Latino homes across the United States, Aguirre said.
The little things matter, like the cozy feel of the kitchen in the ad, which made the home more accessible to the target audience. “It was smart, it was simple…and they hit all cultural tones,” Aguirre said.
(However, marketing alone isn’t everything, as Wells Fargo agreed to a settlement in 2012 for discriminating against black and Latino shoppers.)
Why it’s important to get it right
Cristina Mora, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, said it’s important for companies targeting Hispanics and Latinos to remember they’re part of the United States.
More importantly, Hispanic and Latino populations are made up of many cultures with myriad shades. And marketing efforts aimed at Latinos in Florida will land differently with Hispanics in New England or California, she said.
Mora said Hispanic Heritage Month should be a time for reckoning and reflection, not just a month for businesses to capitalize on Latin American spending.
“Now is the time to kind of reflect on the past and what solutions we absolutely and absolutely need,” Mora said. “I’m not sure the cartoons about eating tacos do anyone any good. For example, I don’t know how deeply it helps celebrate and advance the Latino presence in the United States. .”