A lot of ‘multicultural’ talk these days revolves around the varying degrees of cultural assimilation among US Hispanics and how brands are going about connecting with this segment versus the general market. The US being the proverbial ‘melting pot,’ does that mean that eventually we all become one and connect with the same message regardless of our heritage?
One big box retailer that is not waiting to figure it all out is Walmart. According to an article published by AdAge, Walmart isn’t just talking the talk. It’s walking the walk.
At the corporate level, last month the retailer announced the promotions of Gisel Ruiz to EVP-COO at Walmart and Rosalind Brewer was named President-CEO of Sam’s Club, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to hold the CEO title at a Walmart unit. Ms. Brewer’s successor as president of one of Walmart’s three U.S. regions is Hispanic.
From an advertising perspective, Walmart leads all retailers in ad spend targeting the Hispanic market and is 15th overall among all advertisers in Spanish-language media, at $66.6 million in 2010, according to Ad Age’s Hispanic Fact Pack. It’s no wonder: about one quarter of all Walmart stores are in states with significant Hispanic populations.
Other leading big-box retailers such as Target and Sears/Kmart are not necessarily waiting in the wings either.
What seems to be a constant among all of them, actually, among many of the leading consumer brands, is the partnering with Hispanic celebrities that have successfully crossed over into the mainstream, most notably JLo and Sofia Vergara.
It’ll be interesting to see how the ‘assimilation’ dynamic plays out. For now, one thing is for sure: as the group grows within the US, the percentage of Spanish dominant Hispanics will continue to decrease, a trend that one might imagine brands are happy to see continue. The question is, will Hispanics also cease to be differentiable from an advertising perspective?
My money is on not soon.