A Bradenton couple is banking on the potential rewards of tapping into the Hispanic advertising market.
Pedro Perez and Roseanne Avella-Perez recently opened Nuevo Punto Advertising Group, a full-service agency focused on using what they call “the complete language of the Hispanic culture,” to link clients with a rich market.
They intend to draw on cultural differences, not just translations from English to Spanish.
The example they use is a Spanish word that in Colombia means a sipping straw. The same word in Cuba means a certain sex act.
“You can seriously offend people,” Perez said. “To avoid things like that, we ask clients who they are targeting so we can use a specific dialect and address those specific needs. We want to make the message culturally relevant.”
Both are graduates of the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota. Avella-Perez is of Colombian descent, and her husband is of Cuban descent.
Nuevo Punto is the couple’s third business. They are merging their Web development firm, Merging Point Design Inc., into Nuevo Punto.
The company has four other employees. The business plan calls for $500,000 in sales the first year, Avella-Perez, the agency’s president, said.
“Hopefully, we’ll end up growing at the same rate as the Hispanic population,” she said.
Tampa Hispanics have buying power
Nationally, the Hispanic population increased 61 percent from 1990 to 2003 — the fastest growing population segment in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New York-based Scarborough Research estimates that the Tampa Bay area Hispanic population has an annual buying power of about $7 billion, with an average household income of $57,265.
The agency plans to initially concentrate on clients in the Sarasota and Manatee counties area and expand regionally. Census figures show there are about 24,000 Hispanics in Manatee and 18,000 in Sarasota.
Hispanics outspend non-Hispanics for groceries, telephone services, furniture, men’s and boy’s apparel, and children’s clothing, per capita, according to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies in Virginia.
The Hispanic advertising industry has grown an average of 17 percent annually over the past five years, topping out at $3.43 billion in 2003, according to association statistics.
A study by California-based Walters Media Group Inc. shows that 72 percent of Hispanics open and read direct mail, 66 percent respond to it and 30 percent want to receive more.
However, America’s major advertisers allocated only an average of 2.4 percent of their measured media advertising resources to target Hispanics over the past three years, according to studies by the association.
A competitor to Miami agencies
The Perezes said it is difficult to predict the company’s profit margin. They plan to provide the same services as some large Miami advertising agencies and do it cheaper.
Nuevo Punto’s fees will range from $100 to $175 an hour compared to the $175 to $275 an hour charged by some Miami firms, she said.
J. Osvaldo Laino, president of Advertising 7 Inc. in Tampa, said his agency has been providing services similar to those envisioned by Nuevo Punto but has to compete with Miami agencies.
“The big corporations usually go to Miami,” he said. “The Miami firms don’t know the Tampa Bay market as well as we do, but they still go to them.
“Deanne Roberts, president of Roberts Communications & Marketing Inc. in Tampa, said her agency teams up with a Hispanic consultant or agency when needed. There has not been much demand for it, but she predicted that will change.
“I think (Nuevo Punto) has the right business model because in this region our international emphasis is on Central and Latin America,” Robert said.