For over a decade beginning in the 1960s, Volkswagen’s print advertising campaign practically defined the post modern age of advertising. Consisting of a large photo, a simple, eight word headline and about thirty words of copy, the Volkwagen print campaign is credited with selling America on the small car. Extremely witty and always informative, Volkswagen ads were gems of the age.
¡Hola! First, we must define our terms. Though often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” and “Latino” are not identical terms.
“Hispanic” derives from Latin word for “Spain.” It is a reference word that potentially encompasses all Spanish-speaking peoples in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It emphasizes the common language among populations that have little else in common.
“Latino” is believed to be a shortening of the Spanish word “Latinoamericanorefers” and refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin.
Of the two, Hispanic can be used in reference to Spain and its history and culture. For instance, a native of Spain residing in the United States is an Hispanic, not a Latino. Of course, the Hispanic influence on Mexican cultures has been a major one.
These distinctions mean little when used in reference to United States residents of Latin American origin. More important is the political use of the terms.
For many, Latino is a term of ethnic pride and Hispanic is an offensive label. According to this view, Hispanic lacks cultural resonance of Latino, with its Spanish sound and its ability to show the feminine form Latina when used of women.
Furthermore, Hispanic is a term used by the United States Census Bureau and other government agencies, thus bearing the stamp of the Anglo establishment.
These views are prevalent, but by no means universal. Usage is related to geography as well as politics. Latino is preferred in California; Hispanic is used in Texas.
Therefore, for the purposes of this publication, and the development of an overall marketing communications plan, and any reference made to the group in advertising, we suggest using the geographically-accepted Latino. Readers of this memo should also know that the data and opinions herein have been researched from variety of publicly-available resources, but also derive from professional experience.
Fresno County’s population is dominated by Latinos. Like most of the other cultures that call Fresno County home, many Latinos are first- or second-generation immigrants, drawn here to invest in the American Dream. Some Latinos have lived here for years without becoming fluent in English. Others speak English well but feel more comfortable in Spanish. Many families speak Spanish at home and English in outside the home. Some young, English-speaking Latinos are going through “retro-acculturation,” because there are career advantages to being bilingual.
The Fresno County Latino population can be divided approximately into thirds:
There is the portion of Latinos that are fully absorbed into California Anglo culture. They speak very little Spanish, and maintain lifestyles and living spaces that do not reflect Latino culture. They do not consider themselves to be Latino, and avoid all Latino marketing attempts. They have worked throughout their lives, sometimes across generations, to embrace all things “American” and leave their Latino heritage behind.
The middle portion of Latinos are comfortable in two “worlds:” with friends and family, they speak Spanish, or the mixture of English and Spanish popularly called “Spanglish.” They move between the Anglo and the Latino cultures with ease, and make the transition with gentle humor. They are likely to speak Spanish at home, and English elsewhere. They listen to their favorite radio stations and watch TV programs whether they are presented in Spanish or English. Many members of this group aspire to be absorbed; however, a growing number are forging community acceptance and personal happiness by embracing their heritage. This segment of the Latino population is believed to be growing.
The third portion of Latinos in Fresno County is made up of the newest arrivals. Most are immigrant hopefuls. Some are chronic “undocumented workers.” Many hope to stay for the rest of their lives, and some hope to return home as soon as possible. They deal exclusively in the Spanish language and are heavily influenced by Spanish media and word-of-mouth. They have been drawn here by the American Dream and are here to make money, because they can make far more here than at home. They deal almost exclusively in cash. Using money orders, wire transfers and overnight shipping services, they send money and consumer goods back to their families.
Because the Latino population is so diverse, marketing and advertising efforts must be developed to appeal to the broad Latino audience through cultural commonalities, using simple and direct Spanish words. After all, we don’t produce one English-language ad for Kingsburg residents and another for those in Prather, so why should we produce different Spanish-language ads? Not all Latinos speak or read Spanish proficiently. Latinos often use different words in different contexts. But for many Latinos, English is the language of my business, and Spanish is the language of mi corazón.
A misconception about Latinos that marketers often bring to the table is the idea that Latinos are not as big consumers as are Anglos. According to the U.S. Census, the Data Marketing Association, and other resources, Latino buying power in the United States is huge. In 2005, Latino disposal income was estimated to exceed $735 billion. The number of Latino households with annual income in excess of $100,000 rose 137% from 1990 to 2000. It should be seen that the issue is not whether Latinos have money (they do), but how they spend the money they have.
It is said that Latinos tend to make every day special for their families, as opposed to saving up for a family vacation. Latinos spend more of their income on housing, groceries, telephone services, furniture, major appliances, clothing, and gas and motor oil. And they are starting families. One in five American births in 2000 was to a Latino family. In Los Angeles, 57% of all kids under age six are Latino.
Incidentally, Latinos use computers. They are the fastest-growing online population, and the bilingual and English-dominant segments are equal.
Latinos respond to marketing efforts that help them visualize family improvements, and place them squarely within the American Dream. Latino families are together far more often than Anglo families; often there will be numerous generations of a Latino family under one roof.
Key to an advertiser’s successful acceptance by the Latino market is the sense of “family” that the advertiser can convey, and the advertiser’s ability to enable customers to achieve and keep the American Dream. These are the twin values that Latinos of any stripe hold dear.
To be successful at Latino marketing, advertisers need an advertising and marketing partner it can trust one that understands the Latino market, and has successful experience in Latino communications. Armadillo Advertising can provide the steady hand you need.
Our experience covers three decades and includes the development of major campaigns directed at Latinos of all ages. Working with translators, copywriters, on-camera and voice-over talent we trust, we have developed multiple media campaigns for health care, auto sales, home sales, jewelry sales and consumer electronics. Armadillo Advertising has produced hours of Spanish language radio and TV campaigns, PowerPoint presentations, and online sites.
We work with a small number of highly capable and trusted translators. Our TV and long-format translator was a local Spanish-language TV news producer for years. Our print and online translators are a wife-and-husband team from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Our radio translator has been a broadcast executive for more than ten years.
Here’s the way it works best: Select Armadillo Advertising as a trusted Latino marketing specialist, and we will work closely with your bilingual Latino Marketing team to suggest and develop the materials needed for a comprehensive Latino outreach. Using our team of copywriters and translators, we will develop and design the materials, and your Latino Team, empowered with editing capabilities, will be responsible for giving the go-ahead to all work.
A successful Latino marketing campaign can involve more than translating and re-presenting all current collateral materials, or a bilingual version of the web site. It’s a campaign that advocates creating advertising that reaches Latinos where they live, work and play. We can develop a campaign that markets you in a compelling way that Latinos understand.
After all, marketing to Latinos is just like marketing to any other group – it’s just different.
Years ago the owner of a New York department store said that half of the advertising dollars he spent annually were wasted. He said his problem was that he didn’t know which half.
Today there is good reason to believe the wasted portion is what a company spends on the creation and production of advertising. We Americans, exposed to millions of dollars worth of advertising daily, hardly remember even the most recent ad we’ve seen.
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National audience research annually lists a “Top Ten” of stand-out ads – consigning all the others to unmemorable oblivion. In other words, good ads are one in a million.
Is it that bad? Why does advertising clutter the landscape and abuse our eyes and ears like a pack of screaming monkeys?
We think it is because there is, in place, all across the country, from local media and agencies to New York and Los Angeles conglomerates, a generation of advertising professionals that neglected to learn the basic structure of salesmanship and storytelling in advertising.
We believe there is a classical structure to the successful ad. This has nothing to do with layout or design or production technique, but is common to all successful advertising for TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail – all of it.
It is possible to make a great ad with a classical structure whether or not you are working with the best agency, the best artist, the best photographer, or the best videographer. However, you can work with the best people in the world and, if your ad has no structure, your ad won’t work.
The classical structure of a successful ad is comparable to a good book, movie or story with an exciting beginning, a compelling middle, and a satisfying ending. For this analogy, we are indebted to Robert McKee, an educator well-versed in the story structure conclusions of Aristotle.
There are three equal pieces of the successful ad structure pie, just as there can be three acts to a Broadway play or a Hollywood movie.
Act 1: The Objective. The creator of an ad knows that the advertiser has a product or service to sell that will fulfill the needs of a certain segment of the audience.
Act 2: The Conflict. The creator of an ad knows that there is a value placed on the product or service that will overcome consumer objections to the time, effort and distance required to make a purchase.
Act 3: The Ending. The creator of an ad must resolve the conflict and request the appropriate response.
What is important to note here is that this classical structure works precisely because the audience instinctively expects it; anything else confuses the audience and results in less effective advertising that doesn’t sell anything.
Years ago a journalist asked avant-garde film maker Jean-Luc Godard, “Surely you agree that a film must have a beginning, middle and an end?” The director of surrealist films replied, “Yes, but not necessarily in that order.”
You’ll note that Godard is today revered as a great artist and not a terrific product pitch craftsman.
But that is exactly the deal. Producing good advertising is a craft, not an art. Like all crafts, there is a set of agreed-upon facts that lead to a successful production. Though there are surely more principles than we will list, herewith are ten ways to be sure your advertising works:
Every ad has a protagonist – that is, someone who is in charge. The ad’s audience already knows that the advertiser wishes to provoke a favorable response. In an ad, the protagonist-advertiser is in charge of the sales effort. No outside force can come between the protagonist-advertiser and the audience. Therefore, only the advertiser can affect the audience’s comprehension of the message.
Every good ad features an advertiser presenting a conflict to the audience. Advertising conflicts include price against value, convenience against distance, and consumer loyalty to another brand against consumer desire for change. Advertisers naturally face competition in the marketplace. The volume and quality of the audience that decides to turn into purchasers are wholly dependent upon how the advertiser deals with competition (aggressively, or, less successfully, passively or reactively).
Brevity is everything. Extraneous words and activity (visual or otherwise) are absolute dead ends that the audience will rebel against by changing channels, turning the page, or worse, developing a bad opinion of the advertiser.
Never lie. Ever. Why? Because, as Richard Nixon famously said, it’s wrong, that’s for sure.
Respect the audience. Audiences understand that complexity can be a good thing but that complications are not. Overcoming audience objections about the difficulty you are presenting – getting out of the chair and purchasing – is hard work. Fortunately, most audiences today are pretty sophisticated and want to know how things work. If you are selling cookies, show someone enjoying a cookie. The audience will appreciate it.
If you are creating an ad for an advertiser, get to know the advertiser as well as you know yourself.
As stated previously, good ads have a beginning, middle and end. The audience wants to know why they should pay attention to your ad, and so you must offer an exciting reason right at the beginning. As your ad progresses, you must reassure the audience with a compelling reason why their time is being well spent. By the time your audience finishes with your ad, they should be fully aware of the subsequent actions you expect from them and pleased that they took the time to pay attention.
Every good ad has subtext. This is one of the most important – and usually forfeited – aspects of good advertising. There is something behind every good ad that brings out shared emotions in the audience. This is called subtext. It’s the purely irrational, emotional connection between the advertiser and the audience. It comes to the creator of the ad by knowing the advertiser inside and out.
Nothing improves an ad better than constant questioning of its meaning at every stage of its development.
Finally, every good ad ends by asking for the sale. Then it asks again. Then it begs.
If, as the philosopher Norman Douglas said, you can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements, it is possible that the great audience out there understands the ideals of advertisers through the ads we make. Employing classic structure, creators of advertising can increase response and sales by making advertisers’ ideals and objectives resonate. And that’s the truth.