Exclusive: P&G, Sears, GM top Hispanic ad spending survey

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The first comprehensive ranking of Hispanic ad spending by marketer reveals that some are heeding the wakeup call of the 2000 U.S. census by adding or shifting ad dollars, while others, like the pharmaceutical industry, are still largely ignoring Latino consumers.

"Some industries since the 2000 census really stepped on the pedal to catch up," said Carlos Santiago, a consultant who worked with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies on ad spending data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, which recently began measuring Hispanic print and TV.

The top three advertisers to Hispanics-Procter & Gamble Co., Sears Roebuck & Co. and General Motors Corp.-spend between 5.2% and 21.1% of their ad budgets in the Hispanic market, according to AHAA's analysis of CMR data.

Overall, marketers spend an average of 3% of their ad budgets on the Latino market. Publicis Groupe's Tapestry estimates the size of the fast-growing Hispanic media market at $3.4 billion for 2004, compared to $1.4 billion for African-American media.

Industries such as retail, consumer electronics, and the nonprofit sector have increased the proportion of their ad budgets allocated to the Hispanic market while pharmaceuticals, financial services, apparel and entertainment companies are lagging behind, Mr. Santiago said. Food and telecommunications companies have always been relatively big spenders in targeting Hispanics.

big gaps

The spending gap is most striking in the pharmaceutical industry. Spending by drug giants such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Aventis and Novartis tops $5 billion in the general market. But Pfizer is the lone pharmaceutical marketer to appear among the top 100 advertisers in the Hispanic market. This, despite the fact that Hispanics are at greater risk for many treatable diseases, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.

NBC-owned Spanish-language network Telemundo has commissioned research on Hispanic consumer behavior in making decisions about prescription drugs and pharmaceutical-related topics. The study, including a look at Hispanics' primary information sources in making health-related decisions, will be presented at AHAA's semi-annual conference in Miami this week.

Another big spender in the general market, automotive makers, aren't among the categories that allocate the greatest proportion of their ad dollars to the Hispanic market, Mr. Santiago said.

Looking at individual marketers, L'Oreal almost doubled its Hispanic TV spending last year, to $18 million between January to September 2003 from $10 million the previous year. Comparable print figures aren't available, but L'Oreal is the biggest advertiser in this month's debut issue of Thalia, named for Mexican singer and actress Thalia Sodi, from American Media's Latino Magazine Group.

The advertiser ranking only covers print and TV for the first nine months of 2003. CMR does not yet measure Hispanic radio. CMR numbers are generally higher than actual spending because they are calculated at rate-card prices. Advertisers who use only Hispanic media, such as English language courses, were not included.

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