Lopez Negrete Communications
Several years ago, perhaps at a Speed Dating event or a networking Happy Hour somewhere in Los Angeles, guests were presented with a series of ice-breaker questions to help start the conversation. The question posed to me was, “What’s the one thing you own that you’ll never, ever get rid of?”
Without hesitation, I responded, “My record collection.”
My LPs and 45 RPM singles are some of my cherished possessions. For years, friends and colleagues couldn’t understand why I had transported—at significant cost—my collection across the country each of the three times I’ve relocated in the last 25 years. Furthermore, how could I possibly be investing in additions to a collection that was perhaps outmoded and arcane, given the rise of the compact disc and, following that, digital downloads and streaming services?
My answer is simple: The iPod and my iPhone are great for hearing music, but the record player is the best device for listening to music.
There’s a difference between hearing and listening. It’s time to demonstrate that difference to marketers, brand managers and C-suite executives. Much has been said and shared about the rapidly evolving Hispanic market. But, have the decision-makers been listening to what has been said, and are they making choices based on efficiencies, rather than conclusions derived from the largest amount of data ever made available to marketers about today’s U.S. Hispanic consumer?
In September 2015, a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data showed the immigrant share among each of the U.S.’s Hispanic origin groups in decline, affirming reports that immigration from Latin America—in particular, Mexico—is slowing.
The Hispanic Market Overview annual report has stated for the last several years that the U.S. Hispanic population is now being driven by births, rather than those who are foreign-born. Additionally, it should be emphasized that immigration is slowing but has not stopped. Far from it: the U.S. Hispanic population in 2000 was comprised of 14.1 million immigrants. By 2013, that number grew to 19 million.
A market of 19 million consumers should be an opportunity for brands who wish to establish themselves as a top choice when it comes time to make purchasing decisions. Remember, everyone shops. The recent Latino immigrant needs food, packaged goods, clothing, transportation, and health care information regardless of their financial status. The upscale Latino and Latino Baby Boomer are equally important.
Yet, marketers seem fixated on a Hispanic plan of action focused squarely on bilingual Latino millennials who can be targeted through the English-language media they consume.
Why? They’ve been spending too much time hearing how to do more through “total market” capabilities instead of listening to the experts and veterans who have modernized their agencies but have remained true to what works for today’s Latino consumer.
The aural quality of a record is richer, and deeper. One simply hears more. It’s imperfect, with the pops and hisses and skips on well-worn favorites. The U.S. Hispanic advertising agency of today is no different than a record. The people inside these businesses have the deepest and richest insight on Latino consumers, and are the perfect partners to work alongside a general-market agency.
According to Nielsen, sales of vinyl records grew by 30% in 2015, to 11.9 million, from 9.2 million in 2014. Music fans are rediscovering records.
It’s now time for marketers who have turned to the dreaded adaptation and translation approach to rediscover the value of Hispanic advertising agencies.
With an uncertain economy once again rearing its ugly head, and a presidential election that has put Hispanics in an understated role as ultimate decision maker, we’ve put on our thinking cap and our reading glasses to provide a Total Focus to Hispanic marketers and advertising agency executives on everything keeping you up at night—and everything keeping the lights on and the paychecks from bouncing.
Hispanic Market Overview 2016, presented by Lopez Negrete Communications, is now available for complimentary download at http://reports.hispanicad.com/reports/HMO2016/
As the industry’s key executives gather in Miami Beach for the 20th annual ahaa conference, this year bearing the name “The Future in Focus,” we hope this report generates conversation, thought and perhaps a little controversy. Congratulations to Leif Roll, VP of Marketing at State Farm, on being named Marketer of the Year. We’ve seen a lot from State Farm in the U.S. Hispanic market. But where is GEICO? Who is Progressive’s Latina counterpart to Flo?
We also single out Eric Reynolds, CMO of The Clorox Company, as Clorox has demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the Latino consumer through product development and subsequent marketing efforts that make the company a standout. Your lavender-scented products can be found throughout the Hispanic Market Overview ohana.
Please enjoy this seventh annual Hispanic Market Overview, presented by López Negrete Communications. As you are reading this, please listen to what is being said. Otherwise, they’re just words that you may be hearing, but not digesting.
Reading, while listening to your favorite record album, is highly recommended.
Adam R Jacobson
HISPANIC MARKET OVERVIEW 2014 – InFocus Excerpts
Hispanic Market Overview 2014, presented by Lopez Negrete Communications, is now available via download at no charge to all via HispanicAd.com. We thank the more than 3,000 industry professionals who downloaded this year’s report within the first 24 hours of its release.
Due to the size of the PDF file, iPad and iPhone users have been unable to view the document. Therefore, AdamRJacobson.com will be offering select excepts from this year’s report in the coming weeks as a benefit to industry professionals.
We continue our series of excepts with a Q&A session from Houston featuring Alex Lopez Negrete.
THE HMO INTERVIEW: ALEX LOPEZ NEGRETE
In mid-March 2014, at a Miami event featuring one of the Latin world’s biggest recording artists, no one had many positive things to say about the U.S. Hispanic market. One familiar face shared the news that she had shifted agencies and had “happily” left the U.S. Hispanic market to focus on media buying and planning in Latin America. A longtime Hispanic market executive lamented that the market was still slow, and things were moving glacially. A third bemoaned layoffs at her company. A fourth person noted that he was actively looking for work in the “general market.”
Has the U.S. Hispanic market hit its peak? Are years of gloom and doom ready to set in?
If you’ve spoken with veteran Hispanic advertising industry executive Alex López Negrete lately, the answer is clearly, and emphatically, no.
“It’s been a crazy, wonderful year full of growth!” says Negrete, who oversees Houston-based Lopez Negrete Communications (LNC), a full-service Hispanic-focused multicultural agency that in 2015 will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Among the highlights from the last 12 months: In June 2013, Verizon Communications announced that it had decided to consolidate its Hispanic market advertising efforts by awarding all strategic planning, creative, and digital responsibilities for Verizon Wireless from GlobalHue to LNC. Verizon’s relationship with LNC dates to October 2010, when it shifted its estimated $50 million U.S. Hispanic non-wireless business from GlobalHue.
In October 2013, LNC, which already has a Los Angeles outpost, opened the doors to its New York City office. Why? “I was drunk,” López Negrete says with a laugh.
“Connectedness to our clients and our community has always been the hallmark of our agency, but it is also a game of scale and access,” he says. “Having a New York presence was the next level of evolution for the agency, and having a large client in Verizon Wireless allowed us to achieve swift growth as a full-service agency. We’re very happy with how we are growing.”
With Bank of America a client now in its 21st year with LNC and Walmart set to celebrate 20 years with LNC next year, the agency has thrived with a diverse assortment of companies that have committed to reaching U.S. Hispanic consumers by directly communicating with them. Among LNC’s other clients are Shell, AARP, Pernod Ricard, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and hulu.
López Negrete is pleased that the CPG category remains strong, but hopes that pharmaceutical companies will “get serious about the Hispanic market” and increase their targeted marketing initiatives.
At the same time, López Negrete has worked hard across his agency’s departments to ensure that their client’s “total market” objectives are met. Asked how LNC ensures that their client has met its “total market” desires, López Negrete says, “It is the question we ask ourselves. “Everyone is confused about the ‘total market.’ Is it about the condition of the market? Is it about the approach to reaching the total market? Is it the ‘how’ to reach the total market, which is something like high school sex in that everyone talks about it but no one really does it?”
López Negrete begins to tackle the difficult question of how his agency defines what the “total market” is by first addressing the condition of the U.S. Hispanic market and the overall advertising landscape of today, compared to two decades ago.
“In 1995, we had the ‘general market’ and within that niche markets with some crossover messaging,” he says. “Today, these ‘little planets’ that represented the niche markets are now really big and has reshaped our reality of what the ‘general market’ is.”
Specifically, López Negrete sees several key things that brought today’s focus on “total market” strategies to what he believes are “hysterical levels.” First on his list is the redefinition of what is mainstream in the America of 2014.
He says, “The demographic reality of today’s ‘general market’ hit everyone square in the eyes. From a cultural, social, and economic perspective, these ethnic groups of 20 years ago now define what is now mainstream.” As a result, there has been a blurring of the lines in mainstream media, with growth in multicultural audiences and marketing efforts that target these consumers, López Negrete adds.
Second, he notes, “Corporate America has an insatiable thirst for growth, and the only growth area out there is the multicultural consumer—specifically Hispanic. But marketers are confused, because there are more options than ever before, and Corporate America has always wanted nice and easy solutions.”
That’s where the concept of “total market” initiatives get muddied. “We have the general-market agency out there exclaiming, ‘We can do it all!’, with one strategy, one overarching human truth, and a plan to solve the complex equation of how to best target the Hispanic consumer. It seems like part of the market is going to embrace adaptation and this ‘all for one’ approach, but to me it sounds like the 1980s and early 1990s all over again. Effectiveness and efficiency are not the same thing!”
López Negrete wants marketers to understand that today’s Latino consumer makes purchasing decisions based on their freedom of choice, and with more linguistic choices than ever they are continuously communicating in both Spanish and in English. Thus, he is confounded by the idea that “big blanket” broadcasting-focused initiatives can ultimately prove successful in a world where one-on-one marketing is bigger than ever.
That’s not to say using mainstream media to superserve a target audience while also appealing to all consumers can’t prove successful. López Negrete singles out Miami-based Alma, led by president and chief creative officer Luis Miguel Messianu, for its groundbreaking McDonald’s spot—Los Primeros Clientes—that aired on ABC during its March 4, 2014 telecast of The Oscars.
The 30-second commercial features a Hispanic teen who is shown on his first day at McDonald’s, working the drive-thru window and taking orders in English. His first customers? Mom and Dad, who are shown ordering in Spanish. Narration at the end of the commercial is done in Spanish.
“This succeeds because McDonald’s is being relevant to Hispanic audiences without alienating other audiences,” López Negrete says. “It’s a flat-out wave to Latino audiences on a night when Mexico got its first Best Director award [for Alfonso Cuarón].”
López Negrete laments that economic factors will lead to the continued use by some marketers of adaptations and translations of English-language creative designed for the general market. But, he’s certain more marketers will see big gains that figure out how to best carve out a “total market” strategy—or whatever the proper name may be.
“I don’t know if the term ‘total market’ is appropriate,” López Negrete says. “It’s more of an omnicultural market, where different cultures interact and absorb from one another without losing their identity. And, more and more, we’ll need to have the Hispanic agency as ‘the tour guide’ to the Hispanic market, being at the table from the very beginning. We are now in the decision-making process, and that’s what has changed from 20 years ago. Having influence, early in the process, has spread like never before.”
But, López Negrete warns, it takes clients that are truly committed to Hispanic marketing to not botch what transpires next.
“When the ‘sausage is made,’ the follow-through isn’t quite there despite the client’s good intentions,” he says. “For the agency, the task is to understand the brand essence, and show original work that does not betray that. You do not want to create brand chaos, yet the work has to unequivocally be Latino.”
While López Negrete is confident of the Hispanic market’s immediate future, he has no easy answers for where the market may be in 10 years, when the fuel behind the growth in the Hispanic population—U.S.-born Latino children—become consumers who may not need Spanish-language media.
“I’ve had some sleepless nights,” he admits. “We may not know where the market will eventually go, but we should help ourselves in getting to go where are consumers are going. The last thing we should do is help them go somewhere else.”
The 2013 ahaa annual conference concluded Wednesday afternoon in Miami Beach, Fla. with a resonating presentation from Leo Burnett Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Mark Tutssel, who singled out the Latin world for its “great love of creativity.” However, his presentation focused on the notion that the “tectonic plates of global marketing” are continually changing, thus putting marketers in a continuous battle to gain people’s attention.
Additionally, digital and social media has shattered the paradigm for traditional advertising campaigns. “Creativity without borders will set the benchmark for creative communications,” said Tutssel, who has four core roles that set the stage for borderless creativity.
The first rule, “Cultural Fluidity,” is based on his belief that advertisers and marketers are in constant competition for people’s attention. And with every single piece of work now shared around the world, the people are now empowered to influence and direct a brand’s message.
Tutssel’s second rule, “Democratization of Creativity,” revolves around his understanding that the production and distribution channels have been turned over to the masses. “What does that mean for us?” he asks, referring to the advertising agency. “It means we have competition not just from other advertising agencies—it is all of humanity.” Thus, Tutssel opines, creative needs to allow for participation from the consumer, allowing them to reimagine and repurpose traditional creative.
Being “Always On” is Tutssel’s third rule, remarkining that he couldn’t remember the last time he turned off his smartphone. Lastly, Tutssel said global collaboration—the industry’s “true north,” was essential for assuring that the brand’s creative speak exactly the same language, no matter its interpretation. “The industry’s future is discovery and curiosity,” Tutssel concluded. “Our world is a blank canvass.”
Tutssel’s concluding remarks followed a presentation featuring Walmart VP/Creative Marketing Greg Warren and SVP/Brand Marketing and Advertising that had the two executives present via video conference from an Admirals’ Club at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, where the two were stuck due to cancelled flights and virtually accepted the honor of ahaa’s Marketer of the Year. Walmart’s extensive efforts to reach Hispanics were placed in the spotlight, including its “Operacion Parillada” television campaign designed to promote its steaks to Latino consumers.
Companies that seek to build relationship with Hispanic, Asian and African-American consumers should take their multicultural budget out of a silo and push it out to all of the company’s business units. That’s what Walmart Stores has done and what its senior vice president of brand marketing and advertising, Tony Rogers, advised. Speaking Tuesday at the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference in Miami Beach, Rogers believes such actions will force behaviors throughout all of a company’s divisions to change for the better, with all on the same page with respect to understanding the multicultural consumer.
To gauge performance throughout all departments, executives should set four or five annual objectives. Among them, Rogers said, is how your marketing efforts do against the multicultural audience. He also reminded his peers and supply-side companies to force discussions on identifying business insights, while continuing to drive business and sell product. “Companies that treat marketing as a discipline know how important and powerful this is,” Rogers said.
In other sessions on the second and final day of the conference, New York Times national correspondent explored identity and the recognition of mixed-race Americans – a fast-growing group throughout the Deep South, once the epicenter of segregation. Fueled by intermarriages, colleges including the University of Maryland at College Park now have the largest enrollment of mixed-race students than ever before.
Picking up on a topic explored in Monday sessions by AT&T executive Jennifer Jones, Time Warner Chief Diversity Officer Lisa Garcia Quiroz was set to explore further ways diversity can be key to business growth for a large company.
Other sessions on Tuesday include a presentation on Hispanic and African-American share growth from MillerCoors vice president of multicultural marketing Alpesh Patel, and afternoon breakout panels featuring Procter & Gamble Co. senior marketing manager Ida Chacón and Univision Communications senior vice president of brand solutions Graciela Eleta; and Post Foods brand manager for U.S. Hispanics Mike Foley with MV42 executive vice president Steven Wolfe Pereira.
For more coverage from the ANA Multicultural conference, visit www.hispanicad.com