There's No Direct Translation for Target's Latest Effort Aimed at Hispanics

The Effort Depicts Terms and Moments Unique to Spanish Cultures

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Target aims to deepen its relationship with Hispanic consumers through a new ad campaign launching on March 8. Called "Sin Traducción," or "without translation," the push highlights Spanish terms and moments that have no direct English translation and are unique to Hispanic consumers.

For example, the first of two launch spots is named "Arrullo," which means "lullaby," and is often used to describe the right ambience and setting to put a baby to sleep. The second, called "Sobremesa," is about the period of time right after dinner in which family and friends linger at the dinner table to catch up or spend quality time together. "There will always be a part of you that simply doesn't translate," the ads point out.

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"The Hispanic guest loves Target but we're always looking to connect on a deeper level," said Rick Gomez, senior VP, brand and category marketing at Target. "'Sin Traducción' does exactly that. It's a way for Target to make a connection with our Hispanic guest on a deeper, more emotional level."

The strategy has personal significance for Mr. Gomez, who is Hispanic and whose first language was English. He can recall asking his parents to define words like "comadre" and "compadre," which have no direct translation.

The effort, created by LatinWorks, includes a mix of broadcast spots, digital advertising and experiential efforts.

The spots are meant to spark a larger conversation with the Hispanic community. The retailer will encourage consumers to share more terms and experiences from their cultures on social media, where Hispanics increasingly interact, using the hashtag #SinTraducción.

"Social is the cornerstone of the campaign," said Mr. Gomez, adding Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be a focus. "This campaign is about fueling a conversation and getting people to talk about what those untranslatable words, feelings and phrases are."

The ads will run on Spanish-language TV networks in the U.S., such as Univision and Telemundo, and bilingual versions will air on English-language networks like USA during "Modern Family" and TBS during "The Big Bang Theory." Online versions will also run as pre-roll on digital platforms like Zefr's YouTube channel, PeopleenEspañol.com and Hulu.

"We thought it'd be really interesting to recognize this dual world that she lives in," said Mr. Gomez. "She's going back and forth between her Hispanic traditions and her American culture."

While the campaign is running, it will be Target's most significant investment aimed at the Hispanic market, Mr. Gomez said. He declined to reveal the budget, but said Target remains committed to investing to reach that audience.

Target is a long-time investor in Hispanic media. In 2013, the company spent $51.5 million on Hispanic U.S. measured media, or 3% of its total spend for the year, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. It was the 28th largest spender in Hispanic media that year, and has been among the top 50 advertisers in the category since Ad Age began measuring it in 2004.

The marketer took home an ANA Multicultural Excellence Award in 2011 for a radio campaign involving a mariachi band that sang Target prices for various items in Spanish.

But "Sin Traducción" is different than Target's other efforts. It's the first push aimed solely at Hispanics. Target's previous campaigns were developed for a general audience and then tailored for the Hispanic market. By crafting the effort from the start with Hispanics in mind, Target aims to form a deeper bond with the audience.

"This would be our first campaign that is built from the ground up based on Hispanic insights," said Mr. Gomez. "That's a reflection of the evolving marketplace and our evolving guest," he said, adding that Target's core consumers are increasingly millennial and Hispanic.

As part of the push, Target will also have a presence at Hispanicize 2015, a conference taking place next month in Miami that features key influencers in the Hispanic community.