Traditionally the one size fits all approach to Hispanic advertising was heavy on abuelitas, fútbol and Cinco de Mayo. Today, the cultural fabric that makes up the increasingly diverse US Hispanic market requires more cultural insight that goes beyond what is traditionally or exclusively Hispanic. Today’s Hispanics are young (average age is 27, which is 10 years younger than the national average) and come from diverse socio-economic conditions. They might be more comfortable speaking about soccer than fútbol, they might have a white, non-Hispanic abuelita from the midwest… today’s Hispanic is nothing if not culturally dynamic.
Mexicans represent the largest nationality amongst US Hispanics totaling over 32 million people who account for nearly 65% of all Hispanics in the US. However, what is most telling about this group is that their current net immigration (Mexicans migrating to the US) is currently at zero percent or less. In an article in Blogging Out Loud, Steve Medina, president of Vertical Marketing Network’s Hispanic Agency Partner, Tenzo Group, says that the current state of immigration from Mexico is one of the most telling facts about the current US Hispanic population….Hispanics are no longer foreign, they are no longer “others”.
According to Medina, “The growth of U.S.-born Hispanics is now at 63%, and it will dominate and drive Hispanic growth in the United States…” The implications of this for advertising messaging and placement are profound given that it is no longer sufficient to only produce soccer-themed commercials to air on Univision. Medina makes the case for this cultural ambiguity (rather than the past, heavy handed cultural certainty that explained Hispanic culture) by saying that “bi-culturals do not fit the standard cultural themes that marketers have used in the past, as they are comfortable in multiple environments and are cultural curators between more and less acculturated Hispanics and non-Hispanics.”
Medina goes on to state that “Hispanic brands, brands that have been created in the United States for and/or by Hispanics and U.S. brands that have brand propositions that are relevant and resonate with bi-culturals will be competing for this exciting opportunity.”
US Hispanics are both traditionalists and assimilators; they are in a perpetual state of cultural oscillation, which all provides anthropologists/cultural critics with food for thought and marketers a constantly shifting challenge.
This post is also available in: Spanish