The Hispanic Insight of a Pepperoni Pizza

The Hispanic Insight of a Pepperoni Pizza
Juan Guillermo Tornoe
  • 13 august 2008

If a Latino advertising agency or consultant begins to address the Hispanic insight of a pepperoni pizza (a bar of soap, toothpaste, shampoo, a hamburger, a Phillips screwdriver, a pencil sharpener… you get the picture), RUN away from them as fast as you can.

There are certainly some products or services for which you will need to fully understand how these interact, relate, fit, with the reality or frame of mind of the Latino consumer and your success in reaching out to them will heavily depend on it. Exhaustive, primary and secondary research will prove invaluable to reach your goals.

Now, let’s go back to the pizza. If your ad agency begins to build an intricate dissertation on how the dough reminds Hispanics of the fresh flour tortillas they ate back in Mexico, how the tomato sauce brings back memories of the days working the farm and picking fresh produce to make some salsa, how the cheese is such a bastion of their ethnic cuisine, and how the sliced pepperoni looks exactly like the chorizo they enjoy so much eating; all leading to the climactic conclusion that Latinos will love pizza because it reminds them of their home and their culture… you are most certainly dealing with the wrong group of people. It is very likely they will love it because it tastes good; they get a good value for their buck, it’s convenient, the kids will eat it without complaining, etc…

Please do take into consideration that if you are the client demanding a Hispanic insight for a Pepperoni Pizza from your agency, you are doing a BIG disservice to yourself, paying good money to (potentially) talented advertising people so they just put a good dog and pony show to present you some nonsense that delivers your so awaited insight. Please keep in mind that such insight will probably come from the agency squeezing numbers as hard as possible in order to make them say what they believed you wanted to listen, or simply using their imagination to make it sound believable.

Might as well save the money you are paying them and do the advertising yourself. It won’t be effective anyway.

My point is that for certain products, such as Pepperoni Pizza, and others similar to the ones mentioned above, you don’t need a Latino insight. You do need to keep in mind certain aspects or idiosyncrasies of the Hispanic Culture in all your ads (General Market as well as Latino – Remember they are now the largest minority in America) AND create persuasive, relevant, attention-grabbing ads in English as well Spanish with the general insight and knowledge you and your agency (or agencies) have gathered.

Many Hispanic ad agencies hire creatives from all parts of Latin America. They are not hired because they understand the Hispanic Market which, as I maintain, is different from the Latin American Market (where by the way, each country is a market all by itself). They come to the U.S. because they are great creatives who have been generating kick-ass ads in Spanish! No mysterious Latino insight, just raw advertising talent that happens to be most comfortable writing in Spanish, their mother tongue! They are master wordsmiths in their language.

Remember that when we are talking about Hispanic Advertising we are NOT exclusively talking about Spanish Advertising. Yes, there will always be a need to reach a percentage of the Latino Market in Spanish, but also a big chunk of it will be reached with your General Market budget. Here is where really understanding the Latino Market begins to pay off… more to come.

Stay tuned.

Contributed by Juan Guillermo Tornoe

+consumer goods
+Latin America
+Market Research

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