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Targeting the Lucrative Hispanic Market

It is estimated that within the next ten years the purchasing power of the U.S. Hispanic market will grow to $1.5 trillion. As a result, it is becoming increasingly pertinent that marketers recognize that this group can no longer be forgotten, ignored, or underestimated. Fortunately, several corporations across the country, hoping to capitalize on the market and gain long-time and loyal customers, have boldly decided to enter into Hispanic consumers' homes and approach them through their television sets in an unprecedented appeal.

In the past, companies have failed to connect with Hispanics in several ways. While they may have created a message that was applicable, and maybe even one Hispanic consumers could relate to, the message never was effective because it failed to incorporate Hispanic characters. Another issue was that many companies failed to recognize that teenagers were likely to watch English-only television programs. This of course meant that the ads that were placed on Spanish-language channels, no matter how potentially effective, were never seen. Recently though, companies such as Las Vegas Convention and Tourism Authority and McDonald's have begun to take these past advertising faux pas into consideration and have developed campaigns that hope to successfully and effectively target this group.

The McDonald's campaign, which launches on January 1st, features two young Hispanic males who partake in various French fry "duals." They challenge one another to eat a French fry that the other has thrown from the opposite side of an escalator, with a large staircase in between them, in one instance, and a four-story balcony in another. The campaign, entitled "Flying Fry," is geared toward young Hispanics between the ages of 16 and 19.

"As McDonald's evolves their [marketing] effort and makes sure they are connecting with the growing acculturated segment of Hispanics, especially with the second generation, this is the vehicle they've chosen to use to connect with bicultural, bilingual, young consumers," said Tommy Thompson, president of Inspire!, the Dallas-based Hispanic agency behind the campaign.

Primed to make its debut in well-known and emerging Hispanic markets including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Houston, Texas; and Sacramento, California, the ads will air on cable channels such as Comedy Central, Fox, and MTV. If the campaign is successful, McDonald's has the opportunity to take create a relationship with an elusive group that has the purchasing power of $20 billion, of which a sizable portion goes towards fast food purchases.

The city of Las Vegas is taking this Hispanic-centric approach one step further and has created an advertisement geared toward the Hispanic population that is entirely in Spanish. What is unique about this is the fact that the ad will air on English-language television on several cable channels such as A&E, Bravo, Fox Sports Net, and Logo.

The commercial plays off of the city's now famous tagline "What happens here, stays here," which is translated to "Lo que pasa aquí, se queda aquí," and features a boyfriend and girlfriend in the organization's first 30-second spot. In the ad, the couple is seen talking on the phone. After they both hang up, the viewer realizes that the girlfriend is sitting in a Las Vegas hotel room surrounded by friends who are preparing to go out for the night.

The ad's primary goal is to motivate the Latinos currently living in the United States, as well as Mexican tourists, to visit the city when traveling. This is part of a larger overall plan to increase the number of visitors by 10% within the next few years.

"The strength of the brand is really so incredible that you don't have to understand what they are saying to get it," said Rob Dondero, executive vice president of R&R Partners, the Las Vegas-based agency responsible for the creative on behalf of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. And more importantly, the overall storyline is believed to be general enough so that anyone watching it will understand and comprehend the commercial's purpose — no matter what language they speak.

In addition to McDonald's and the city of Las Vegas, many companies have begun marketing to the Hispanic market. Among them are the toothpaste brand Crest; car manufacturers Toyota, Nissan, and Ford; and the soft drink company Coca-Cola.
On the net:McDonald's

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