Marcos Macias: I'm a big hip-hop fan. I love old Biggie, Snoop and Tupac. I also love reggae, Afro-Cuban music and even Celia Cruz.
What TV shows do you watch?
Macias: Six Feet Under, Friends, Alias, 24, Everybody Loves Raymond. ("It's got great writing and it's very close to the Hispanic reality.")
What do you do in your leisure time?
Jose Luis Villa: The football season (that's futbol!) is coming right up.
Armed with a Doug E. Fresh soundtrack and a street-styled posse of burger-brandishing youth, McDonald's new "Big Mac Beats" spot aggressively pursues the young Hispanics and African Americans who, statistics show, are packing away the largest share of the chain's trademark burger (and have the obesity numbers to prove it). Hispanic-market shop Del Rivero Messianu DDB of Coral Gables, Fla., and Burrell Communications in Chicago co-plotted a strategy based on the telling research, and DRMDDB went on to create the "Big Mac Beats" spot, directed by Smuggler's Ben Mor.
"What's good about Hispanic and minority advertising is that, especially dealing with retailers, they can see the customers walk through the door," says Luis Miguel Messianu, DRMDDB's chief creative officer. "You don't have to sell the market as much as the ideas." The ad features realistic hip-hop-flavored funksters mowing down on burgers, their fast food antics further punctuated by Spanish, English and Spanglish incantations of the classic "Big Mac Chant," set to street-ready beats. The spots ran on general-market TV in urban areas with high densities of Hispanic consumers, as well as demographically friendly MTV. Messianu's creative team readily reflects its target market - Messianu is Mexican, as is creative director Jose Luis Villa, while associate creative director Christian Reslen is Colombian and senior art director Marcos Macias is a Cuban-American raised in Miami. Rather than work with a Hispanic-market director, Macias says Mor was chosen because "his stuff was the most real. We didn't want anything stylized, and he captured a genuine, grassroots urban feeling." The approach and the result are a far cry from the stereotype-infused ads long foisted by corporations upon a perceived Hispanic audience.
"In general, our work is much less ethnic now and more similar to advertising in the U.S., Latin America or Europe," says Messianu. "We're over the 'Trust me, I'm Hispanic' syndrome. With notions of diversity and multiculturalism more mainstream now, being Hispanic is better accepted. The influx of Latin culture is visible in food, entertainment and music. When I first got here, in the mid-'80s, people were ashamed of their origins and taught their kids not to speak Spanish. Today it's a matter of pride."
As for connection between Hispanics and African-Americans, typified by the recent McDonald's spot, Macias says it's always been there, from Caribbean culture to big city life in the U.S. "Even though we're very different, there is the same soul and passion for music, style and enjoying life. The two cultures are always striving to not be stereotyped."
Beyond contending with the changing face of their market, the creatives are increasingly challenged when it comes to finding ways to reach Hispanic consumers. "The next big challenge has to do with content and programming," says Messianu. "The networks are realizing there is a great opportunity to be more progressive. I don't think it has to be, as people have thought in the past, only in Spanish. Hispanic relevance is more than just a language."