As a creative and second-generation American, I have had the unique advantage of having a personal connection with the Hispanic market. I represent a group of people less visible in the media but ever present in the streets of New York and other U.S cities. The subject of this post is a sensitive one and a topic that I have heard people discuss in their cubicles, but not outside of them.
Marketing to American Latinos is more than merely translating an ad and adding a more Latino-looking figure. It begins with the understanding that Latinos are multilateral and can be spoken to in English, Spanish or Spanglish. I saw many examples of this in the time that I spent working as a creative in a Hispanic advertising agency in New York. There I met Asians, redheads, Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and more who joined together and spoke an amalgamated language of different accents, all with the same fervor and passion for the industry.
The fervor that these people have displayed for their work has also in a sense trapped them. I know firsthand that there is this concern among creatives that they will be pigeonholed into Hispanic advertising if they dabble in it long enough. More than one creative director has "warned" me of this.
I recently spoke with a creative director who is a self-proclaimed "creative who also happens to be Hispanic." He emphasized this only to prove the point that a creative is a creative, and should be admired or respected based on his or her talent, and not just on their ability to cross cultural platforms. To him, the distinction between a creative and a Hispanic creative was laughable. I share this view with him, as I think many a Hispanic creative would. It is easy to get pushed one way or another, when really you just want to be revered for your creative ability.
Still being in the early stages of my career, I am left wondering whether or not pursuing the world of Hispanic marketing would be a death sentence to my career, if I did, in fact, want to advertise to the general market again.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Jeanette Guardiola is a freelance art director for a Hispanic ad agency in lower Manhattan. She is also a recent grad of the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she received a B.F.A in advertising design and an A.A.S in communication design. Her professional experience ranges from working in creative departments at ad agencies such as Leo Burnett and Y&R to tutoring college students in Adobe CS3 and doing production design. She has a penchant for multicultural marketing and is a supporter of web-infused advertising.