This fall many marketers who have already taken the first small steps into the U.S. Hispanic market-typically dabbling with local radio and translating a few general-market TV commercials into Spanish-are making the next, bigger leap. That means committing more dollars, doing original creative work in Spanish, and seeking more strategic insights into the U.S. Hispanic consumers they are counting on to fuel their growth.
For marketers as varied as Allied-Domecq's Dunkin' Donuts, drug chain CVS and carmaker Mitsubishi Motors North America, the time is right. They are chasing a growing Hispanic consumer mass, especially as many marketers expand into regions with large Hispanic population.
similar growth patterns
"Our growth is very similar to the Hispanic market's growth," said Phil Risinger, Dunkin' Donuts director-marketing. The new spot-by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday Hispanic, Miami-is breaking in New York, where Dunkin' Donuts has 958 outlets, and Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia, with another 741 altogether. Until now, Dunkin' Donuts added a Spanish-language voice-over to general-market commercials and created some Spanish-language radio spots, Mr. Risinger said.
For the company's next fiscal year, starting this month, media outlays on the Hispanic market will double, he said. He did not disclose the spending, which is based on franchisee sales growth.
"The key is talking to the Hispanic market in [its] language-there's a 61% increase in ad recall by using the [Spanish] language," he said.
Another Hill, Holliday Hispanic client, CVS, followed up its Hispanic radio and direct-marketing efforts by filming its first Spanish-language spot last week. It will break in November, as the pharmacy chain prepares to expand in heavily Hispanic states like Texas and Florida. The company is also converting recently acquired Eckerd drugstores to the CVS brand.
The store conversion gives CVS the opportunity to introduce bilingual signage during a redesign, said Jose Lopez-Varela, VP-managing director of Hill, Holliday Hispanic. Stores have all been classified at one of four different levels that determine the degree of Spanish-language store signage and communications. The levels, based on the Hispanic population in a store's neighborhood, go up to a high of 85%.
The agency is also addressing the different needs of Hispanic customers, such as advertising reflecting their unique relationship with their pharmacist.
"The relationship Hispanics have with the pharmacist is at a different level, almost on a par with the family doctor or the parish priest," Mr. Lopez-Varela said.
Another marketer ready to step up its Hispanic efforts, Mitsubishi, realizes it's time to stop using adapted work from its general-market agency. Mitsubishi has been "spending quite a bit" on local radio and TV ads translated into Spanish by Interpublic's Deutsch, Los Angeles, said Ian Beavis, senior VP-marketing, product planning and public relations at Mitsubishi.
"We need to do a much better job," said Mr. Beavis, who is part of a management team installed at Mitsubishi late last year. "There's been a maturing of the Hispanic market, in media, programming and agencies in the last several years."
After embarking on a U.S. Hispanic agency search, Mitsubishi executives plan to pick three finalists in September and assign them to develop a pilot ad program.
To take the next step, Hispanic agency executives like Mr. Lopez-Varela warn that clients must be prepared to commit enough resources and to develop Spanish-language creative. Marketers have additional concerns, like ensuring that their Hispanic agency works well with the general-market shop and adheres to a consistent creative platform. Mr. Beavis, for instance, warned that Mitsubishi is serious about targeting Hispanics, but that the push will be integrated with the marketer's general market advertising and entail working closely with its general-market agency, Deutsch.
"I've seen too many instances of Hispanic agencies almost at war, trying to do something completely different," he said.
contributing: jean halliday