Are we "abroad" yet?

A Global Marketing Blog – Because "abroad" is a place that doesn't exist.

Spanglish in ads: A do or a don’t?

I have been interested in Latino/Hispanic marketing for a while. It all started when I was creating campaigns for Latin America. Once in a while, an agency would contact me saying they offered services for “the Hispanic segment in the U.S.”. As if that made them instant experts in Latin America, the continent… Talk about a stretch!

What resulted from these interactions:

1. A major pet-peeve: Latinos living in the U.S. and people living in one of the more than 20 countries around Latin America have very different life experiences. I explored (=vented about) this in the past in this presentation.

2. An interest in observing how different companies are connecting with Latinos in the U.S., and a feeling that nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

One of the discussions I keep seeing is: When targeting Latinos, when to communicate in English vs. Spanish?

That always depends. It depends on the age group and the media strategy, for example. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to do this: Each brand has to go through the exercise of figuring that out and tweaking along the way, if necessary.

A recent campaign from AT&T just made that decision even more difficult by endorsing Spanglish as a viable, sensible option.

Spanglish in advertising is not new. Companies such as Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Dr. Pepper have used it for years. But AT&T seems to validate Spanglish in a fresh new way in its campaign geared towards young Latinos, ‘Between Two Worlds’. They created an engaging video showing how Millennial Latinos identify with both mainstream American culture as well as with their Hispanic heritage. And nothing illustrates this bicultural sensibility better than the use of Spanglish.

English, Spanish, Spanglish…It’s not getting any easier, but it’s sure getting more interesting.


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This entry was posted on December 29, 2014 by in Language, Local culture and tagged , , , .


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