Marketers who are reaping outsize rewards from U.S. Hispanic consumers are helping Univision spread the word. In an ad campaign breaking March 24, Nissan, Subway and Post Foods' Honey Bunches of Oats tout these achievements: Hispanics bought 30% of Nissan Sentras in 2013. And 100% of the Post cereal brand's growth is from Hispanics.
The claims may seem startling. But that's the point. Univision did research to understand why some marketers don't make the Hispanic market a strategic priority, and what's holding them back. Cynthia Ashworth, Univision Communications' SVP, innovation marketing, said three big ideas emerged: Those marketers didn't understand the Hispanic market, or the effectiveness of advertising in Spanish, or Univision.
Working with two agencies, Digitas and Troika, Univision developed a $1 million trade and digital media campaign with the theme "Return on Influence" to debunk myths and show results from investing in Spanish-language advertising.
In the car category, 11% of total sales are to Hispanics, but Nissan ranks higher, with 19% of overall sales to Hispanics. Last year, Hispanic sales of the Nissan Sentra, sold in the compact car category that is popular with Latino buyers, accounted for 48% of that vehicle's sales growth. That led to Nissan's role in the Univision campaign, with ads featuring brightly-colored cars next to the words "Univision helped put Nissan in the driver's seat. Hispanics bought 30% of Nissan Sentras in 2013."
The boost from Hispanic sales is especially dramatic in categories experiencing slow or no growth, like ready-to-eat cereal, where sales to non-Hispanics fell 2% last year. For Honey Bunches of Oats, 25% of volume comes from U.S. Hispanics, said Jennifer Brain-Mennes, director of media and public relations at Post Foods.
Univision's Honey Bunches of Oats ad asks "Need a bigger spoon?" and explains in a series of banners that "100% of Post's Honey Bunches of Oats sales growth [is] from Hispanics."
Taking a close look at Hispanic consumers leads to broader efforts. Honey Bunches of Oats is rolling out "Bunches of Beats" with an augmented reality app on cereal boxes, Ms. Brain-Mennes said. Fans can download the app, which will recognize images on the cereal boxes and let users access music and other content. The program kicked off with a song called "Smile While You Shake It" performed by bilingual Puerto Rican duo Domino Saints. The marketer is working with multicultural media agency MV42 and creative shop XL Alliance.
"It's a total market platform, but it was driven by Hispanic insights," she said.
Univision's campaign, leading to its TV upfront presentation May 13, will include promoted tweets, sponsored LinkedIn content and a promotion with Buzzfeed about things that are better in Spanish, like soccer. To reinforce in a fun way that Spanish matters, a food truck will visit media agencies for a week in early April, dispensing Latino food to those who order in Spanish.
Keith Turner, Univision's president, advertising sales and marketing, said that after he joined Univision a year-and-a-half ago, he formed a team that focuses on "zero share" marketers who weren't doing any Spanish-language advertising on Univision. That team activated 96 brands last year, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Red Lobster.
He said Univision didn't offer the three marketers who shared their stories any special incentives to be part of the campaign. (Ms. Brain-Mennes agreed).
"Not every marketer is willing to go public with their data," Ms. Ashworth said, noting that those who agreed to participate have spoken at conferences and events about their success in the Hispanic market. "They want to take credit for their leadership."
Ads featuring the third marketer, Subway, explain that the chain saw a 40% jump in Hispanic traffic between 2009 and 2013 while non-Hispanic traffic grew by only 7%. That's because Hispanics go to fast food restaurants more often, in bigger groups and order more items than non-Hispanics.