Segmentation: Hershey bets on ads aimed at Mexicans

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Hershey's made a controversial choice in promoting its new U.S. Hispanic line with language familiar to Mexicans, but not to other Spanish-speakers. La Dulceria Thalia products, a range of Hershey's kisses, wafer bars and lollipops backed by Mexican entertainer Thalia, are described as made from cajeta, the Mexican version of the caramel flavor known as dulce de leche in the rest of Latin America.

"We use the term because 67% of all Hispanics are Mexican and we're targeting Mexicans," said a Hershey spokesperson.

In a few Latin countries, "cajeta" exists with a different meaning; in Argentina, a very sexual one.

"There is Walter Cronkite Spanish," said Jose Cancela, principal of Miami-based consulting firm Hispanic USA. "Using a word that is not known to 40% of the market is not smart marketing."

Not everyone cares. Cristina Benitez, president of brand strategist Lazos Latinos and a speaker of Puerto Rican Spanish, said, "Thalia is a great spokesperson and the ads are really cute."

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