Hispanic Marketing’s Call To Amplify, And Represent


Enlarge. Extend. Broaden. BLOW UP.

These are some of the definitions of the word “amplify,” a key theme of the 2024 Hispanic Marketing Council Annual Summit, held April 11 in New York. Yet, another buzzword couldn’t be avoided at the well-attended event.

From start to finish, the standing-room only crowd heard about “authenticity.”

To some, it may seem like an obvious insight — why be inauthentic?

Sadly, even in 2024, multicultural marketers continue to present diverse consumers with generic and perhaps gaffe-laden marketing initiatives because of assumptions, efficiencies and a full lack of understanding of the target audience.

Then, there is what Luis Miguel Messianu, Founder, President and Chief Creative Officer of newly formed shop MEL (Messianu Edelman Lerma) calls “Latino Coating.”

As creative director of the campaign, Messianu even had black T-shirts printed and available for HMC Summit attendees to take that sported the new hashtag #StopLatinoCoating. The intention of this effort? To give Hispanic marketing the weight it deserves.

Oh, and there’s that “authenticity” again. As Messianu sees it, one needs to “connect authentically or kiss your careers goodbye.”

To be clear, the concept of “Latino Coating” is defined as a superficial marketing approach “coating” products, campaigns, media or entertainment with Latino elements for the appearance of diversity without genuine understanding or respecting Latino culture.

Is this the “nod” we’ve all heard about in recent Hispanic Market Overview annual reports, where positive commentary about that Hispanicity being woven in to a total market spot was accepted by many across the U.S. Latino landscape?

Perhaps that’s the case, but for reasons that have less to do with cultural appropriation by non-Hispanic marketing campaigns and more to do with dollars: Today, the U.S. Hispanic population comprises one-fifth of the total and represents $3.2 trillion in Gross Domestic Product. This makes the U.S. Hispanic consumer, if it were its own nation, the fifth-largest economy in the world.

Yet, Messianu shares, “brands continue to miss opportunities by investing less than 4% (based on data from SMI and GroupM) of their advertising budgets on Hispanic-targeted efforts.”

Could that disparity be the symptom of what Messianu terms “surface-level attempts at inclusion, such as incorporating stereotypical imagery, language, or cultural elements into marketing campaigns, without a deeper connection or meaningful representation?” He’s convinced, noting, “It’s akin to whitewashing, greenwashing, or rainbow washing, but it preys on Latino identity—offering a mere illusion of inclusivity by adding Latino elements on the surface. It’s activating during Hispanic Heritage Month and patting yourself on the back.”

“Authentic engagement builds lasting relationships based on trust and mutual understanding,” says Zubi VP of Media Integration and Hispanic Marketing Council Chair Isabella Sánchez. “Research shows that when consumers feel genuinely represented, they’re more likely to support and advocate for brands. It’s time for CMOs to wake up, treat us as we are: the fifth largest global economy.”

Interestingly enough, Messianu’s #StopLatinoCoating pitch to HMC Summit attendees was sandwiched between perhaps the most dynamic group of client-side marketers seen at a Hispanic advertising-focused event in recent memory. Presentations from Colgate-Palmolive and TikTok opened the daylong event, as Greg Gallagher, VP of Brand Marketing for the Beer division at Modelo and Corona parent Constellation Brands, was a midday panelist. Then came 2024 HMC Marketer of the Year Pepsi, and Esperanza Teasdale, VP/GM of the Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo Beverages North America. Our Portada in this year’s report features an in-depth interview with Teasdale. We also chatted with Steven Wolfe Pereira, the fiery EVP/Chief Client Officer at TelevisaUnivision and host of other influential individuals ensuring that today’s Hispanic consumer — regardless of language — is properly spoken to.



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