When you get right down to it, every social, political, and cultural issue roiling American society in 2010 comes down to the changing demographics of the nation. The National Journal has recently published an article that gets to the heart of the matter, entitled “The Gray and The Brown: The Generational Mismatch”. Though a bit long, I urge you to read it, as it explains the existing and future policy and cultural clashes that result from a growing, mostly white senior population that is skeptical of government and its role in public life, and a booming youth population that is mostly minority (and Hispanics make up a large part of that minority group). Young people are more encouraging of government’s role in shaping economic and social policy.
The article, by Ronald Brownstein, delves into the implications for social policy. In a nutshell, young people will have a growing senior population to support through Social Security taxes, and seniors will have to rely on an educated, employed workforce to support them. In terms of marketing, we see the results of this generational mismatch in various ways. Slowly but surely, minorities are more visible on television, in both commercials (see the recent Los Links ad campaign by Microsoft) and television shows (the recent success of Ugly Betty). And yet Ugly Betty was pulled from the air, to make room for…reality shows and programming that caters to a broader (read: whiter audience). Although there is more and more data to suggest that Latinos’ purchasing power is only growing, we also see that marketing decision makers are hesitant (or unwilling)to invest ad dollars in Hispanic-focused campaigns.
We hope that, as young minorities make up an increasing part of the workforce, that marketers pay more attention to targeting this important audience (and targeting them INTELLIGENTLY). We hope that more minorities get into the marketing world, since we bring a unique perspective to the advertising decision-making process. Perhaps then will we see an increase in quality offline and online advertising targeting U.S. Hispanics.