“It’s possible that multi-cultural marketers are the best marketers in the room, because they’ve so often had so little resources to play with,” Roberto Gomez contends. Why? Because marketers tasked with reaching ethnic and minority audiences are consistently forced to rely on data to learn more about their audiences. In so doing, they’re spared the simplistic, anachronistic assumptions that so often trip up mass marketers with budget to burn.
Gomez’ comments, as SVP of MOSAIC – a DC-area agency known for its ability to target cultural and ethnic audiences – took on an air of immediacy brought on by reaction to a recent Pepsi commercial that Wired magazine dubbed “So Awful” it united the Internet in berating the beverage marketer for being “tone deaf.”
In an insightful presentation drawing on his experience as both a classically trained marketer and the son of Cuban immigrants at an AM AdBuzz on multicultural marketing, Gomez said, “We have to be comfortable talking about what’s uncomfortable,” meaning the racial and ethnic differences that so often divide society. Yet, when asked by the crowd how Pepsi could have improved their ill-conceived homage to Black Lives Matter protests, he said flatly, “I wouldn’t have done it at all.”
He explained, “Loyalty is based on long-term commitment,” and “It takes commitment” for marketers to be authentic in their support of multi-cultural communities and causes. Commitment to the community means meeting with community and church leaders in person, doing behind the scenes or “in the shadows” work like contributing to the maintenance of sports fields and area clean-ups, and literally – not whimsically in a commercial – marching alongside them to advocate for causes they support.
Said Gomez, “If a marketer wants to show commitment to the ad, write a check, but if you want to show commitment to community it takes the commitment of the people in your organization to drive and to do something for that group.” Bluntly, he added, “Pepsi is not committed to any movement. They’re not committed to any community.”
Something as simple as educational outreach can demonstrate an organization’s commitment to multi-cultural communities, as when Gomez helped the Atlanta public transportation system MARTA explain the use of its new transit cards in a booth for city immigration centers.
The other example Gomez shared was of how he helped client Aaron Brothers’ Furniture reach Hispanic and African American audiences by pointing out how many of their furniture warehouses were in predominantly Hispanic and multi-cultural neighborhoods. With this audience target in mind, he revamped their mascot into a lucha libra wrestler, complete with mask and leotard. The character – which even local news channels took to be a “real” wrestler – made appearances at local tent sales that were organized annually near the company’s warehouses to offer “significant savings on quality goods” to shoppers. A run of 10,000 coloring books featuring the character were snapped up – and the furniture sold out as well by Sunday of the weekend tent-sales!
Gomez helpfully offered a top ten list of things marketers need to know about the Latino audience:
- Latinos use global platforms to find games and content to connect with family and friends.
- Spanish-speaking consumers greatly appreciate translated, customized content.
- Latinos aspire to speak English to “make it” and using it in short ad messages can be effective.
- Latinos sign up for social networks to participate online in order to connect with family, friends and people who share the same interests or city of origin.
- Use targeting layers like behavioral, contextual or language targeting to further segment and understand your Latino audience online.
- Reach Spanish-speaking US Latinos via IP-targeted pages on foreign websites through ad networks or exchanges.
- Ask the right questions up front. Don’t assume that certain reporting would be provided for the Spanish site because it is available for the English site.
- Never “transliterate” your copy directly into Spanish without thoroughly analyzing how the messaging and information might need to be refocused based on a different target client.
- Evaluate linguistic nuances among the different forms of Spanish relative to vocabulary of your industry and product lines. And,
- Consider emotional and cultural ties to the Spanish language.
Another important thing to know about Hispanic audiences is that they’re “first adopters” of mobile media because of their mobility, he added.
Most important of all, perhaps, is the extent to which Americans as a whole are becoming more multi-cultural, and multi-racial. The 6 million Americans judged in 2015 to be “multi-racial” are expected to grow by 45% over the next decade, Gomez reported. Popular culture already reflects an interest in ethnic icons and influencers, he added, noting that the number one most popular Instagram site belongs to Selina Gomez and the most popular Twitter site is Beyonce’s; The most popular “action hero” is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, part African American and Samoan, and the most popular comedian is Kevin Hart.
All people want to see themselves in the advertising brands use to communicate, Gomez said. His advice, “Develop an icon that clearly and memorably resonates with the audience while building brand understanding and differentiation. Be consistent. Be bold. Be memorable. Be unexpected.” But above all, “be committed.”
You can access Gomez’ full presentation here: https://www.slideshare.net/rgomezjr. Follow MOSAIC at twitter.com/MOSAICbuzz, Roberto at twitter.com/rgomezjr, instagram.com/rgomezjr, and linkedin.com/in/rgomezjr. AAF-DC’s next AM AdBuzz is Wed., June 14.