Nissan boosts Hispanic efforts

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When Jon Cropper joined Nissan North America two years ago, the company was marketing only its two lowest-priced vehicles to Hispanics.

"Between 10% and 12% of our business comes from the Latino market, 9% from African-Americans and 6% Asian and other ethnicities," said Mr. Cropper, Nissan's senior manager-youth and urban communications. "Latinos diversify our buyer base and [lower] our average age. But there are basic stereotypes like that Latinos can only afford the least-expensive vehicle. That's naive."

By early next year, when Nissan's first full-size pickup truck, the Titan, is in the market (see story, P. 11), the company will be supporting six brands in the Hispanic market. The company is running its first-ever Hispanic ads now for its Quest minivan and finding that one in every two buyers in the Southwest is Hispanic. And ads for the Altima by Nissan's Hispanic shop Ornelas & Associates tested so well that they ran in the general market in English this year, Mr. Cropper said.

Although the biggest source of new multicultural ad dollars is still from marketers entering the Latino market for the first time, major growth is also coming from companies that have found success advertising a few brands to Hispanics and now are gearing up to add more.

first timers

Dominant broadcaster Univision welcomed more than 50 entirely new advertisers to Spanish-language TV in 2003, including Target, Old Navy and Visa, said Tom McGarrity, president of Univision Networks sales. That's fueling the 20% growth in net revenue to $1.3 billion that Univision forecast for 2003. But Univision is also seeing current advertisers adding brands new to the Hispanic market in their bookings for 2004. Mr. McGarrity cited Unilever, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Co. as examples.

Kellogg has focused its Hispanic resources on a single brand, Frosted Flakes cereal, but will add Spanish-language advertising for several more cereal brands in 2004.

And the company's Hispanic agency, Publicis Groupe's Lapiz, is coaxing another Kellogg division, Keebler cookies and snacks, toward its first Hispanic efforts. Working with the unit now on a project basis, Lapiz led Keebler on a recent Camp Lapiz market tour, including visits to Chicago neighborhoods like La Villita that are so heavily Hispanic that they appear to be in Mexico. La Villita, according to Lapiz, is also Chicago's second most lucrative business district after Michigan Avenue.

Even Procter & Gamble Co., the biggest Hispanic spender, is still adding products to its dedicated Multicultural Business Development Organization, which divides P&G's brands into MBDO "clients" and "non-clients." Herbal Essence just rolled out in the Hispanic market this year. Not every brand qualifies, cautions Ingrid Rivera, P&G's director of external relations, multicultural markets. There may be pricing or other issues with budgets or brand development. "We've been very choosy," she said.

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