Hispanic Advertising Agency Connects for Success
The word “Hispanic” means many different things to many different people: Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, first generation, second generation, etc. It’s about more than language or what someone looks like. A Sarasota company, started by two Ringling School of Art graduates, measures its success by understanding the difference and capitalizing on it.
Nuevo Advertising Group is in the business of bridging the gap between local companies and the Hispanic community. “We travel a road that most people do not,” says Pedro Pérez,
who founded Nuevo with his wife and owner Roseanne Avella- Pérez.
The advertising agency calls the concept “ cultural connectivity.” Nuevo Advertising Group focuses on the Hispanic market through concise advertising techniques while trying to make an intimate connection. The agency’s bilingual team enjoys getting out in the community and talking to people. When Pérez recounts working on Spanish language radio ads for Beall’s Department Stores he describes how they went inside to interview customers, managers and other employees.
In their research they learned Hispanic buyers tend to travel with a larger group including several family members. They often shop with up to six potential buyers. “It’s a family experience, in the Anglo world, not so much.”
According to Nuevo’s website Gwen Bennett, vice president advertising & eCommerce of Bealls, said, “We are excited to have found an agency in the Bradenton/Sarasota area that understands the Hispanic community.”
Nuevo Advertising Group knows all too well Hispanic advertising is about more than translating English into Spanish. The group has noticed some businesses grab someone in the office who speaks some Spanish to translate. That technique, while inexpensive, could pose a potential problem.
Babblefish.com, a website that offers free language translation, translates each word literally. For example “bridging the gap” translates from English to Spanish as “rellenar el hueco.” But, if you translate “rellenar el hueco” back to English on the same website it translates as “to refill the hollow.”
Not exactly the same meaning.
And that’s just English. In Spanish a word or phrase acceptably used in one culture or region
could be offensive in another.
The six full-time and 10 freelance employees at Nuevo come from different parts of the
Hispanic world including Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Pérez believes
that gives his agency a competitive edge. He explains they have a solid understanding of
how each culture is different and know how to incorporate those differences into marketing
plans, adding “one Spanish isn’t going to do it all the time.”
Whether it’s a large department store chain or a government organization, the marketing plan depends on the statistics and the message. Pérez said a marketing plan for a small, highly
specialized, local company doesn’t always include advertising on television, radio or in the
newspaper. “In some cases, we don’t buy any media. Sometimes it’s grassroots and Sarasota
is a grassroots town,” explains Pérez.
Nuevo has been conducting research on Hispanics in the Sarasota and surrounding Tampa
Bay area since its official opening in 2004. That knowledge combined with his team’s cultural
background appears to be a key to success. Ann Miller with Sarasota County’s Emergency Management is quoted on Nuevo’s website as saying, “ For the past two years, Sarasota County
Emergency Management has been working with Nuevo Advertising to provide disaster
information to the Hispanic community. With their assistance in translation and distribution,
we are able to more effectively reach a large and growing segment of our population.”
Hispanic advertising is more than spending a lot of money. Pérez believes some business owners targeting the Hispanic community are actually just throwing cash away.
He says if those businesses plaster ads all over the place but don’t have any employees
who speak Spanish, then it doesn’t work. “If you get that person to finally take notice, to
come in your store, then poof, they’re gone.”
Websites including Spanish are also an untapped resource.
Some people make the assumption Hispanics don’t go online. Research shows the opposite
is true and the number of Hispanic web users is significantly on the rise. According to the
marketing resource website “emarketer,” 13.3 million Hispanics were surfing the Internet at
the end of 2004. That was up from 12.4 million in 2003 and 8.7 million in 2000.
Pérez says the number of people reading websites is probably even higher. In some Spanish speaking communities one person tends to be the ambassador. He or she will often go online,
print and distribute the information to dozens of others in his/her community. So to forget your
message is being read across the world, not just the United States is a major mistake.
Pérez has a free tip for all businesses with websites: at the very least you should have
enough information in Spanish online to encourage jobs for Hispanics
by allowing them to connect with your company.