In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, Ad Age asked some of the industry’s top Latinx creative leaders to share standout examples of how brands are connecting with and representing Hispanic audiences and culture. Here, Flor Leibaschoff, group creative director at Dallas-based agency Lerma and president of Círculo Creativo USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting creativity in the U.S. Hispanic advertising market, shares how some prominent brands aren’t just paying lip service to the community with in-the-moment messages but rather connect via communication and commitments that continue all year round.
How brands celebrate Hispanic heritage all year long
Please, not another Hispanic Heritage Month brief.
A few years ago, I confess that was the overall sentiment from most of the creatives.
I had the pleasure of working within many multicultural agencies. We Hispanics are all very proud of our heritage but exhausted from the lack of commitment from corporate America, who took advantage—one month a year—by throwing a few dollars, believing that pushing a politically correct message was enough to get the Hispanic audience in their pockets. News flash: that was not the case then. And it’s not the case now.
When the 2020 Census came out, it reported that 51% of the U.S. population growth had come from Hispanics. The non-Hispanic white segment shrank 6% from 2010-2020, and this is not a passing trend. The under 18 population continues to diversify at a fast pace—did I mention 53% are non-white? California has become the very first state where Hispanics are the majority minority. Many corporations who used to think of Hispanic Heritage Month as a one-hit-wonder are finally acting and taking us seriously.
After talking with leaders of Círculo Creativo, we noticed there are more brands acting and trying to connect with Hispanics by helping their small businesses. Those who are doing so understood that COVID hit U.S. Hispanic businesses harder than other minority businesses.
It took many Hispanic Heritage Months to be where we are, yet there is a lot more to do. Hispanic consumers don’t just connect with brands one month a year. Can you imagine someone just going grocery shopping from September 15 to October 15? If brands want to connect with Latinos, they need to be by their side all year long and forget their politically correct checklist.
Hispanic Heritage Month should be the launch of a long-term commitment or the perfect excuse to upgrade their game if they are already committed.
I am excited to see how The Home Depot, a brand I personally bleed orange for, is investing in Hispanic-owned businesses for their own supply chain. They have been fully committed to the Hispanic audience and now they’re continuing to show how much they value this relationship.
My agency Lerma created a spot, "Cafecito," to celebrate Labor Day among the Hispanic community. It showcases the multi-generational families who, with lots of work, build their legacies in America. The Home Depot recognizes them and believes it’s important to showcase real, genuine, and authentic stories to connect with the audience. This is one of many ads the brand is developing to keep the conversation going and build a loyal relationship. The Home Depot also increased their conversation on social media to connect with Hispanics—helping them not only to do more, but to become real achievers.
P&G promised to accelerate the progress of Hispanic communities across the U.S. with their initiative launched during HHM with Hispanic Star:
Target's "Más Que" hub is spotlighting standout Latino creators and businesses and has been supporting Latino designers all year long.
The media networks are diving into it too: from NBCUniversal, Telemundo ("Juntos Imparables"), HBO Max ("Pa’lante!") and Warner Media with their “Ponle Color” campaign (a great project we did at Lerma) committing to a long-term relationship with their Hispanic/Latinx audience. “Ponle Color” was inspired by Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, who brought color television to the world, and Hispanics/Latinx people who have been bringing the color ever since. TBS, TNT, and truTV celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and all the ways our lives (and our TV!) are brighter because of the contributions of the Hispanic community and its cultures.
Good news for all the brands out there who only think about Hispanics during Hispanic Heritage Month (or when they go for a taco)—it’s never too late to truly connect with the more than 60 million Hispanics who want to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship with your brand. Come on, bring the Hispanic briefs to us. All. Year. Long.