Toyota leads in Hispanic niche

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Car marketers are expected to boost ad dollars to reach Hispanic buyers this year, ad industry executives predicted. Of the seven auto companies on Hispanic Business' top 50 advertisers in 1999, six spent more than they did in 1998.

Toyota Motor Sales USA was the auto industry's top spender in Hispanic media in 1999, increasing ad dollars 43% to $20 million last year compared with $14 million the previous year, according to Hispanic Business. Former top auto company General Motors Corp. spent $15 million last year, down 14.2% from $17.5 million in 1998, ranking it No. 11 according to Hispanic Business.

Marketers can't afford to ignore the population growth of the Hispanic population, said Nancy Pendas-Smith, president of Saatchi & Saatchi's Conill Advertising, New York. The shop is developing new creative for Toyota for the upcoming model year this fall.

Although the Hispanic community stands 32 million strong, about 12% of the U.S. population, ad budgets "usually never come close" to 12% of the general-market ad budget, she said.

GM spent a total of $2.6 billion in measured media last year; Toyota spent $706.6 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

American Honda Motor Co. is reaching out to Hispanics online. La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, Los Angeles, developed the Spanish-language Web pages for Honda's site and is working on a fall online promotion for the new model year, said Susan Perez, group account director at Orci.

Honda spent $9 million in Hispanic media in 1999, placing it No. 24. In 1998, the magazine ranked Honda higher on the list -- at No. 15 -- with $8.75 million. That change underscores that other advertisers are also boosting their Hispanic ad budgets.

FORD FIRST ONLINE

Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division was the first carmaker to start a Spanish Web site (fordespiritu.com) last year. Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla., which handles the division's Hispanic account, manages the site. The site was freshened in April, said Jack Palazzolo, Southeast region marketing manager.

Zubi is working on new TV commercials for fall. The agency will adopt the "Ford Outfitters" umbrella ad theme for the brand's sport utility vehicles, he said but declined to discuss spending.

Ford Motor Co., which includes the Lincoln and Mercury brands, increased Hispanic media ad dollars 11% to $12.2 million, putting it in the No. 13 slot of Hispanic Business' list. Ford spent $11 million in the category in 1998, ranking it No. 11.

Hyundai Motor America launched its first Hispanic effort last summer. The Irvine, Calif. office of Dieste & Partners Publicidad, Dallas, is agency of record.

The shop created three TV commercials for Hispanic TV. One of Dieste's TV spots for Hyundai promoted its lengthy warranty, also trumpeted in general-market ads. The agency is currently working on nine radio spots for Hyundai's regional dealer ad groups, said Susana Rendon McHugh, exec VP at Dieste.

AGENCIES EDUCATE ADVERTISERS

"We are still educating major corporations on the importance of this market," she said, referring to non-auto marketers.

DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz USA has advertised for several years to the Hispanic community in South Florida via the area's dealer ad groups, a spokeswoman said. But Mercedes plans to hire an ethnic ad agency by the end of the year for broader programs.

Top auto marketers: Automotive is an important category for all Hispanic media. Last year, Toyota Motor Sales USA ranked as the No. 1 spender among seven car marketers spending in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Source: This data was taken from Hispanic Business's "Top 50 Advertisers in the Hispanic, 1999."

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