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Total Market Debate Dominates AHAA Hispanic Conference

Attendees Surprised That Keynote Speaker Rupert Murdoch Had Never Been to Miami

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AHAA keynote speaker Rupert Murdoch
AHAA keynote speaker Rupert Murdoch Credit: Harvey Bilt

In a sign that the U.S. Hispanic market can't be ignored, AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing snagged Rupert Murdoch as the opening keynote speaker at the industry group's annual conference in Miami this week.

The chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox delivered a speech that wouldn't have been out of place at the TV upfront presentations as he touted Fox channels and films and told the audience basic facts about the U.S. Hispanic market that they already knew, before answering a few carefully-screened questions from the audience.

"He's like the Kardashians," said one agency CEO. "It's enough to turn up, it doesn't really matter what he says."

He pleased the audience of about 450 with a strong stance in favor of immigration reform, criticizing the "stupidity" of those who turn their backs on Hispanics and saying that the U.S. "is a nation of immigrants that ought to have more compassion."

"Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. did not come here to sit on their hands," he said. "They believe in freedom and opportunity for individuals willing to work hard .… We have to give them a pathway to citizenship."

He also said the U.S. needs to do away with the cap on visas for highly-skilled workers.

A few fun facts emerged about the relatively private Mr. Murdoch: He was very happy to see Jennifer Lopez return to "American Idol" as a judge, he hangs out in Silicon Valley and had lunch at Google last Friday, and he has lived in the U.S. for more than 40 years but said this week was his first trip to Miami.

Much of the conference was devoted to debating the current hot topic, the total market, and the idea that as America becomes more multicultural, it makes sense to take a total market approach rather than looking at the general market and multicultural segments entirely separately. Before the conference, AHAA and the Association of National Advertisers collaborated to define and analyze TMA, giving the total market approach its own acronym.

In an abbreviated definition, TMA integrates diverse segments, and can lead to one integrated cross-cultural approach, or individual segments under one strategy.

A panel of agency execs broke TMA down into three possible models. In one, the client takes the lead and includes all agencies simultaneously. In another, one agency leads a team and everyone collaborates. In the third, one agency is responsible for everything.

"This [third] model is really easy to buy into because it's simple," said Julio Arrieta, managing director-brand leadership at independent Hispanic shop Lopez Negrete Communications. "Why over complicate it. I can go golfing with one guy, and write one check. This model can go wrong so quickly … It confuses efficiencies with effectiveness."

And no matter which model advertisers use, agencies are concerned that it will become an excuse to cut costs.

Marketers had their turn the next day. "It's a subject floating around the industry in the corridors, and it's not clearly understood," said Xavier Turpin, director, multicultural at Dunkin' Brands.

Each of the three marketers on the panel -- from Dunkin, Kellogg Co. and the Clorox Co. -- said talk started at their companies about TMA between one and two years ago.

"About 18 months ago, I had total market on my radar, but it wasn't my top priority, that was share," said David Cardona, director, shopper marketing and multicultural capabilities at Clorox. "But the confusion I heard internally in my building was such I had to push it up [as a priority]."

He said TMA is a fully integrated approach that allows for cultural nuances and helps identify the business problem. For instance, the company's Hidden Valley brand has a completely different business problem in the U.S. Hispanic market, because ranch dressing isn't a taste Latin Americans are used to, he said. So a different path, focusing more on trial and awareness, is needed.

The panel emphasized that TMA is not a one-size-fits-all cost reduction plan, or an adaptation of a general market campaign without ethnic insights, or an assignment only for a marketer's multicultural team.

"Until we align metrics, we'll have this conversation," Mr. Cardona said. "We're relying on definitions, and we need to focus on metrics."

Separately, AHAA gave a first-time Chairman's Award for an up-and-coming Hispanic marketer to Wells Fargo. CMO Jamie Moldafsky noted in a presentation that more than 50% of new Wells Fargo households are Hispanic, and more than 50% of first-time home mortgages go to Hispanics.

In another popular presentation, Juan Torres, Chrysler Group's head of multicultural advertising and marketing had his own attention-grabbing numbers: For Chrysler, 25% of the standard midsize segment is multicultural, and 95% of growth comes from multicultural sales.

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