Thursday, February 6, 2014

Coca Cola's "It's Beautiful" Promotes Conversation on Diversity


Despite all the controversy on Coca Cola's "It's beautiful" commercial, featuring the song "America the Beautiful", a conversation on diversity is brewing.



Many people took to criticizing the commercial for it's use of different languages other than English, or criticized the gay couple who comes out in one of the shots.  A few others were angry that the "anthem" wasn't sung completely in English, even though America the Beautiful is not the national anthem.  And of course there were those who loved the portrayal of the melting pot in our country.



This commercial has brought up a conversation on who really constitutes America.  It is evident that there is a lot of ignorance in our society, so having this conversation is important for everyone's understanding of who we are.  Whatever the criticisms were, the language, the portrayal of different ethnicities, and sexual orientation, they are all valid and ready to be challenged. 



I personally enjoyed the commercial and I'm glad it has stirred criticism.  There is much ignorance that needs to be taken to the light.  Good job Coca Cola!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Am I a Hispanic or a Latina? Questions on Identity


Not too long ago I was asked by a research team to go on camera to answer a few questions on what it means to be a Latina.  This is a question that I try not to think about too often because it gives me a headache.  It forces me to define myself as one thing or another, and it usually makes me uncomfortable.  As a second generation "Hispanic" or "Latina", I grew up thinking I was just as American as anyone else.  However, life has a funny way to make us look within, and as a young student when it came time to fill out school papers, and other fascinating forms, I was forced to call myself a Hispanic in order to let someone know, the government, school officials, administrators, and whomever asked, that I was indeed from some sort of Spanish or Mexican descent.  In that case, I would have preferred to call myself Mexican-American, or American of Mexican descent, but even then, something didn't quite click.  I didn't quite understand why I had to label myself somehow to be worthy of something, so I just blew it off as much as I could...if I could.

Forms aside, people are also quite curious.  There is always someone who questions my identity at the mall, at a restaurant, whether I'm home in El Paso, in Albuquerque, or Chicago.  There are always those curious souls trying to determine my looks, my accent, so they can store away the file in their memories.  Yes, I get it.  We love labels.  It helps the brain to make sense out of people, and life.  I am an American, a Mexican, a Texan, an El Pasoan, Mexican American, Latina...it all depends on who is asking.  I also speak, write, and read English.  I once had a boss who was bewildered by my superb command of English, being that I was "Hispanic".  I was shocked.

And how could I forget the time that I had left to France for a student exchange program?   As I got off the bus that took us to our families, I couldn't ignore the look of horror in the faces of the family I was staying with.  A few days later the father blatantly asked me why my skin was so dark since I was an "American".  -Because I am, that's why.  That's what I consider myself.  -I was born in the US, and live there.  The look of bewilderment prompted me to lower my defense mechanism and explain what was obvious to me, but not to him.  -My ancestry is mostly Mexican.  Whatever that means.  Did I have to go into race and ethnicity issues at that point?  Not yet. I had just graduated high school so I didn't know how to handle that.

Fast forward a few years later, and the question kept popping up.  I tried to handle it as best as I could.  Working in business and marketing has allowed me to realize the issue of identity and labels, and how people deal with them.  As business managers, marketers, and researchers, we have to look at how people view themselves in order to reach them and create relationships with them.  That has forced me to look at myself as well, although it still gives me a headache.  The latest research conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center discovers a few interesting facts about these labels.  According to the research, most people don't care if they are labeled Hispanic or Latino anymore.  Except in Texas.  People tend to prefer the term Hispanic more than the Latino term.  It would be interesting to find out why Texas is different from the rest of the nation.  What perceptions do they have and what beliefs do they have about this label that are different from others?  Does history play a role?  It doesn't answer the question of how they really view themselves either.  Only that they don't mind being called one label over the other. 

So am I a Hispanic or a Latina?  According to the Census, I am whatever I say I am.  The Hispanic term was created in the 1980's to determine which people traced their ancestry to any of the Spanish speaking countries in Latin America, and Spain.  Whatever you fill out is what you consider yourself, and that's enough for the Census Bureau.  They won't come after you to check if you have the look, the birth certificates of your parents, or if you speak Spanish or not, which is not a requirement by the way.  Nowadays it doesn't bother me to welcome the label Hispanic or Latina, but when I'm asked to describe who I am, all I can think of is freedom.  Hispanic and Latina, and all the other labels are just that: labels.   Labels don't define who I am.  There is so much more.













Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is Football the New Fútbol for Hispanics?

Fútbol has always been at the heart of Hispanic and Latino sports, but a new trend seems to indicate that the NFL is graciously moving into a close and comfortable spot. 

A new poll by ESPN revealed that the NFL has about 25 million Hispanic fans, which is a historic figure for this sport.  In addition, Nielsen has also reported that the 2012 and 2013 Superbowls have had the highest Hispanic fan watching, as well as its 2012 regular season.  So the question that lingers in the air is: Is Football becoming the new Fútbol for this market? 

As Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated from September 15 through October 15, many franchises take the opportunity to showcase their own players and create activities in support for this growing community.  This shows that these businesses have increasingly become more sophisticated at researching the market and translating this into activities and opportunities for growth.

According to this Forbes article, in the last decade the NFL has shown that it has a very strong fan base thanks to its focused research and marketing strategies.  This has enabled the franchise to reach far more Hispanics than if the growth had happened organically.  Thanks to early research in 2002, the NFL has been able to find out more about what drives the market and what activities reach Hispanics.  Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month is just one of the many activities the NFL is creating to capture the market. 

The NFL has also been really good about using Spanish Language media to broadcast games in Spanish, making it the only league in the US that broadcasts all of its games in this language.  Perhaps it is because it makes more economic sense for them to do this for their 16-game regular season, than for other franchises that have 80 games or more. 

But just as the NFL seems to have a good shot at catering to this market in a big way, another recent study done by  Nielsen indicates that the NFL seems to resonate a lot more with English dominant speaking Hispanics of Mexican and Caribbean descent.  Fútbol is still highly watched by Spanish dominant Hispanics of Mexican, Central American, and South American descent, and is still the heart and soul of Hispanics.   Although Football is increasingly being watched by segments of English dominant Hispanics, there is still a higher percentage of Hispanics that prefer to watch Fútbol,  especially the Mexican National team El Tri. 

And so as the NFL has been flawless in its execution of strategy, there still seems to be a gap in viewership mostly due to an acculturation factor.  Nielsen believes that as most Hispanics acculturate it will be likely that the NFL will resonate more.  Will it be more than than Fútbol?  Perhaps not the case in the next few years, but it is yet to be determined.





Monday, August 12, 2013

Becoming a Wise Latina

This past Saturday I had a great time at the Wise Latina Conference, which was hosted at the International Museum of Art in El Paso.  I hadn't had that much fun at a conference in years.  Great female power all around me.  Professors, business women, writers, poets, artists, health providers, and a plethora of women who seemed to be quite successful in their careers.  It was a call to elevate the power of women in the area and an invitation to become a beacon to women everywhere.  The conference theme revolved around women empowering women.

We started off with the US anthem and after a few introductions while the cupcakes and delicious cookies were being passed around, we moved on to the opening speaker.  A prominent Utep professor from the Anthropology department invited women to help themselves and help each other to increase our power in the world and in the community that still lags behind.

After her beautiful speech and answering a mini focus interview, I decided to mousy on to the vendors and find out more about Wise Latina International.  This organization seeks to help women evolve by mentoring and teaching each other to reach high.  It doesn't matter what the condition or career of the woman, the point is to support the growth of women in general and allowing the truth of who we are to just flow out into this amazing world because we are powerful beings.  So I decided to sign up because I love to network and connect with such happy and empowering ladies of El Paso.  I can't wait to get started!  Actually, I already did---by attending the conference and connecting with people and organizations I wouldn't have been able to reach before.  Yes!

After a few other vendors, artists, and a delicious lunch catered by the Green Ingredient, we were ushered to a different location to listen to our keynote speaker Alisa Valdes. I was blown away by her honesty and her dream of writing about Latinas who are powerful and happy in the United States.  Her novels, although popular mainstream books, have yet to touch Hollywood in a way that makes sense for us Latinas, who definitely do not want to be portrayed as maids or cholas.  Her speech was full of wisdow and wit, and her energy so engaging that it was hard not to pay attention to all of the details of her life and journalistic career.  Her books are also a testament of her commitment to change the sterotypes of Hispanics and Latinas across the US.   After she signed my copy of one of her books I realized I had picked a very good story to tell multicultural Latinas.  I can't wait to read the whole story and share it with my marketing class!



Monday, July 29, 2013

Latinos Consuming More News in English According to Pew Research

According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, the percentage of Hispanic adults consuming their news in English is growing, as consumption of news in Spanish has declined in recent years.  Hispanics who said they got some of their news in English went up to 82% from 78% in 2006, and those who get some in Spanish went down to 68% from 78% in 2006.  

Of those exclusively getting their news in English, the percentage went up to 32% from 22% in 2006, and of those reading only Spanish language news, it went down 18% from 22%.  News outlets measured included TV, print, radio, and digital. 

Here are some possible reasons for these trends:
  • Slow down of immigration
  • Longer time residing in US
  • More Latinos speaking English well
  • US born Latinos on the rise
So does this mean Spanish Language Media is dead?  Not so fast.  The Pew Hispanic Research Center says that although there is more consumption in English, there is a greater chance that consumption will rise due to the increase of the Hispanic population and the belief that Spanish language media is seen as doing a better job covering the news relevant to Hispanics.  For more details check full report.

New Cheerios Biracial Ad is Well Liked Despite Controversy

As America is going through a process of paramount cultural changes, the advertising world is also shifting and bending to include these new paradigms.  Last month,  General Mills decided to air a biracial ad that has caused some stir on the Internet.  The ad "Just Checking", created by Saatchi & Saatchi depicts a biracial child asking her mother, who is in a mixed-raced couple, if Cheerios is good for the heart.  Her mother then proceeds to tell her that it does help to reduce cholesterol, and as soon as the child hears that, she takes the box of Cheerios out of the kitchen.  Her father, who is an African American wakes up to a mountain of Cheerios right on his heart.  Touching ad, and very representative of today's society.

Unfortunately, many took to the Youtube site to bash the ad for its biracial depiction.  There were endless hateful comments from people who disagreed with the ad in many forms.  All you have to do is go to youtube and find the comment section to see the scroll of comments.

This, however, did not deter Cheerios from continuing to air the ad.  The ad is still running and Cheerios is not backing down.  In a more recent study, Ace Metrix found out that Americans do in fact like the ad.  The ad commanded a higher likeability and attention that other cereal ads.  The ad scored higher amongst African-Americans, then Asian-Americans, and Hispanics.  See full story.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Hispanic Fact Pack 2013 is here

Hispanic Fact PackAdvertising Age has reached its 10th year of publishing a report for marketers with key marketing trends in the Hispanic market: the Hispanic Fact Pack

This is a great resource of demographic data, media spending, top advertisers in the market, marketing trends, and rankings in all media categories. 

Ten years ago ad spending for the Hispanic market amounted to only $2.8 billion, and as the market has grown and companies have adjusted, so has ad spending to $7.9 billion.  Internet ad spending has also grown to reach $431 million from virtually nothing ten years ago, and is the fastest growing media in the mix used to target young bicultural Hispanics.

Check out the full report on the Advertising Age Advertising Age website.