I read with interest Ad Age's coverage of the Latino youth market ("Hispanic teens set urban beat," Special Report/Teen Marketing, AA, June 25). While agreeing with much of the article, I was disappointed that it disintegrated predictably into a "use of language" issue.
Effectively reaching U.S. Latino youth is not a language issue. It is a cultural-relevance issue.
While working to develop TV content for young, U.S.-born Latinos, I'm amazed at the number of advertisers and media companies claiming to target Latino youth while insisting solely on the use of Spanish.
Of 33 million U.S. Latinos, more than 20 million (61%) are U.S.-born. This is significant because:
*The average age of a U.S.-born Latino is 18 vs. 35 for non-U.S.-born Latinos (U.S. Cen-sus) making U.S.-born Latinos the Latin youth market.
* Virtually all U.S.-born Latinos speak and understand Eng-lish. Some are bilingual (speaking English and Spanish) but many only speak English.
It's simple math that no amount of research can change. To reach the largest potential audience of young Latinos, you must target U.S.-born Latinos. Assuming that you want your message understood by the largest portion of this market, then it should be delivered in English.
If advertisers wish to sacrifice reach for effectiveness (assuming bilinguals do indeed respond more favorably to Spanish), then that's a decision an informed marketer must make. But marketers must be aware of all the facts.
Reaching young Latinos is a question of a bicultural relevance. To state otherwise needlessly overcomplicates the market.
Artist & Idea Management
A recent letter ("Radio's down-tick," Letters to the Editor, AA, June 11) criticized comments made by radio-industry professionals, including myself, in the May 7 Advertising Age article "Radio runs aground, turnaround in doubt." The letter accused the industry of losing its local appeal, over-cluttering the airways and losing audience share to new forms of telecommunications and entertainment delivery systems. I would like to refute those statements with some facts.
* Radio continues to be a strong local medium and is emerging as the leader in the local arena. Programming decisions continue to be based on the dynamics that exist within a specific market and to meet the needs and tastes of listeners in that community. There is not one single radio group that simulcasts programming on all its stations or across all dayparts. Fur-thermore, radio reaches out to the community through promotions and events.
* The number of commercials per hour varies not only from station to station, but from format to format and market to market. A successful station will not jeopardize its audience share with more of a commercial load than its listeners will tolerate. A drop in ratings would immediately force a course correction. Our listeners are the barometer.
* Radio has withstood the onslaught of new technologies, reaching 96% of consumers every week (RADAR, 67, Fall 2000). A recent Los Angeles In-Car Listening Study revealed 95% of people in cars listen to radio. Even more significant, 83% said they do so frequently, while only 12% listen to CDs, 11% to music cassettes, 10% use a cellphone and a mere 3% listen to books on tape.
* Radio is a companion not only in the car but also while surfing the Net. An Arbitron Internet Study shows radio has not experienced audience erosion to the extent other traditional media have from the Internet. In addition to being able to listen to your favorite radio station through your receiver or computer while online, Internet usage happens to be at its lowest during radio's peak listening times, morning and afternoon drive.
* Satellite radio is a new technological delivery system that will take its place among media. But it will no more put traditional radio out of business than cable did the broadcast networks.
* Lastly, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) is not an owner of radio stations as stated in the letter. The RAB is the sales and marketing arm of the radio industry.
Radio Advertising Bureau
Rash made a difference
Sales people can make the difference at a magazine. That was the case with Don Rash, who for 15 years was dedicated and passionate as McCall's Midwest senior account manager. What made Don special? It stemmed from his true enjoyment for his profession. Don loved people; he loved advertising. With his clients, it was first-class treatment all the way. He will be fondly remembered by his many friends and business associates in the advertising community.
Madelyn Alpert Roberts
(former publisher, McCall's)
* In "Accounts in play" (July 9, P. 33), Bob Wolf Partners/TPG, Los Angeles, is the consultant on the Boeing Co. review.