Friday, April 6, 2007

Livin' La Vida Latina!

All throughout high school, I was enrolled in Spanish classes and enjoyed them very much. When I came to Ithaca, I actually considered minoring in the language because I knew that the Hispanic market was growing and that it would be to my benefit to continue buffing up my Spanish skills for my career. However, I decided to drop the minor and stick with a writing minor, but I am still very aware of the growing Spanish population and remember important aspects of the language. It will indeed help me in my career as the Spanish population is booming here in the United States.

I found an article through my PRSSA Issues & Trends e-newsletter that discussed the ways that large American companies are using product placement to reach the growing Latino market. J.C. Penney recently held a contest that awarded one young high school girl with an opportunity for a shopping spree. She won the spree on the show, Mi TRL, which airs on the network, TR3 MTV, a Hispanic MTV channel. After some serious shopping, the girl showed off the "gorgeous, gorgeous" clothes on the show in a later episode. With a high teen Latino market watching the show, J.C. Penney was able to show off its junior clothing through the fun contest and place its product on the MTV Latino catwalk for all of its audience to see. A very good strategy indeed!

Reaching Latinos is becoming more a creative task. Marketers want to place something in the media for the growing market to see, but want it to be appropriate and creative, so the audience will acknowledge and recognize its significance. The article states that "clients initially were hungry for any kind of placement, but now they want it to be highly creative, inventive and appropriate." For example, the Hispanic market loves soccer, so in an episode of the Spanish TV show, Amores Mercado, there was a soccer game and what was found on the field? Nothing other than a Coca-Cola sign! It was just what the audience would see at a real game, and the placement reemphasizes positive brand associations for the drink.

While Hispanic-targeted product placement may seem easy and effective (and it surely is!), it is also pricey. Recently, on the Latino variety show, Sábado Gigante, the host of the show consistently talked about (for 13 weeks to be exact) how "fun it is to vacation at Disney World." While it may have seemed like regular conversation, if the host talked about Disney World, or any product for that matter, before the commercials, it cost that product $25,000 and $50,000 - each time - to be mentioned there!

Marketers are seeing how important it is becoming to reach the Latino market now, and it will only become more and more important. I am excited to see how it may affect me when I begin working in a PR or advertising agency. I am glad I have some basic Spanish skills and am aware of their lifestyles. I guess some things in high school did pay off!

Here is a list of some of the major brands and companies that are involved in product placement, targeting a Spanish audience. It is a diverse list!

Sprint Nextel
Clorox (Check out the link!)

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