Marketers and agencies tussle over tongues

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Marketers and their agencies are split over whether the future of Hispanic media is in English or Spanish, but plan to increase their spending in 2006 in most Hispanic media regardless of language.

An exclusive Advertising Age survey of 479 marketers and agencies found that 81.2% of respondents expect the Hispanic ad budgets they are responsible for to grow in 2006, while 16.8% will remain the same and just 2.0% are likely to fall.

The greatest number, 65.2%, said they will increase spending online. It's not surprising that figure is so high since many Hispanic marketers have done little if anything online yet (see related story, right). Almost as many, 62.8%, plan to spend more on events and buzz marketing. Slightly more than half of respondents said they will boost spending on radio and TV. Newspapers fared the worst, with just 31.6% of respondents saying they plan to spend more on the medium, while 17.5% expect to cut newspaper spending and half said they will stay at the same level.

Heineken, McD's and Coke

Asked to name the brands they think are doing the most interesting work in the Hispanic market, the top choice was Heineken (13.2%), followed by McDonald's (12.8%) and Coca-Cola (11.6%).

Language is a hotly-debated topic for Hispanic marketers. Although the prevalent view is that the future lies in both Spanish and English-language media, the majority of ad dollars still go to Spanish-language TV. And English-language Hispanic media often finds itself shut out of both Hispanic and general market ad budgets.

Asked whether they expect the current situation-most Hispanic-targeted media is in Spanish-to change, 51.7% of respondents said no, and 48.3% said yes. Several hundred write-in responses expanded on those one-word votes. Pro-English respondents argued that the younger generation is bilingual or English-speaking, that the most affluent Hispanics are acculturated, and that use of Spanglish is growing.

"This [bilingual] group will change the fabric of Hispanic-targeted media as a whole," said one respondent. "That's where lots of companies have it all wrong. ... Most second-generation Hispanics aren't watching `Sabado Gigante.' They're watching `CSI,` `Entourage,' etc., just like the regular white folk."

"Outlets like Mun2, SiTV, or Hurban radio stations ... target [the more acculturated] demographic," said another. "The number of media outlets targeting the bilingual Hispanic market is going to continue growing."

No matter which language they favored, many respondents said it's about culture and not language anymore.

Advocates of Spanish pointed out that the continuous influx of Latin American immigrants makes Spanish necessary, that using the language helps advertisers connect with consumers, and that Spanish is a second language now in America. And the Hispanic influence is reaching even general-market media.

"For newly arrived immigrants that are our target audience, Spanish language will continue to be key," said one respondent. "However, in certain DMAs we will be placing Spanish-language ads on English TV to reach a bilingual audience."

Much of the survey, first presented at the recent Hispanic Magazine Summit organized by Ad Age and the Magazine Publishers of America, focused on magazines.

In one significant finding for magazine publishers, events and online advertising and promotions were two highly rated options when buying magazine ad space, cited by 51.8% and 43.3% of respondents respectively. But only 25.8% of respondents said they are satisfied with the events offered by magazines, and just 18.8% expressed satisfaction with magazines' online options.

The study, done in partnership with the MPA, was conducted online by Advantage Business Research in September 2005. Of the 479 respondents, 30.5% were marketers and 67.5% were ad agency or media buying service executives.

In other findings, respondents asked which Hispanic magazines they are most familiar with cited People en Espa¤ol, Latina, Hispanic Business, Vanidades and Cosmopolitan en Espa¤ol. Few people have any idea how many Hispanic-targeted magazines are published. Almost half of respondents guessed that there are 20 or fewer Hispanic titles, and just 17.5% knew-or guessed-that there are more than 100. The correct answer, according to Latino Print Network: There are 118 national U.S. Hispanic magazines, plus 112 Latin America-based titles with U.S. circulation.

Best-known Hispanic magazines*

People en Español


Hispanic Business


Cosmopolitan en Español



TV y Novelas


Maxim en Español

*Spontaneously cited by survey respondents

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