Hispanic Consumers, advertising implications


Without a doubt Hispanics or Latinos are gaining importance in the United States of America. It comes as no surprise that big companies are making adjustments to their marketing efforts according to shifts in demographics and spending power. The Hispanic consumer market is valued at around $1.2 trillion, studies project that Hispanic consumers will account for about 11 percent of all purchasing power by 2017. According to Advertising Age Magazine Hispanic media spending in year 2012 added to $8 billion.

Traditionally advertising targeted towards Hispanics has leveraged proven strategies such as featuring brand ambassadors that appeal to Latinos, printed media has been important for targeting Hispanics as well. Now a days Marketing and Advertising professionals face the challenge of balancing traditional strategies and updated ones, such as those incorporating social media channels.

According to a recent study by BIA/Kelsey’s Consumer Commerce Monitor, Hispanic consumers are outpacing non-Hispanics in the adoption of mobile and social resources when shopping, primarily while doing local shopping. The study revealed that around 49% of Hispanic consumers reported using mobile devices for local shopping, this figure contrasts with the 32% of non-hispanics consumers reporting using similar technologies while shopping.

Hispanic consumers tend to be very loyal to local business. From small stores to big corporations establishing integral social and mobile advertising and loyalty strategies will be key to attract and retain Hispanic consumers.






A New Truth in Women’s Advertising

Globally, women represent $20 trillion in purchasing power and are typically the primary decision makers for everything from cars to household items. Yet female-targeted ads are falling short, alienating rather than connecting with women. Canadian ad agency Marketel recently commissioned a research survey where they identified the top 8 women’s advertising fails:

1. Underestimating women’s intelligence.
2. Patronizing/condescending messages.
3. Failing to show the company cares.
4. Portraying women as sex objects.
5. Assuming women don’t have a sense of humor.
6. Not showing moms as real people.
7. That only pink = feminine.
8. Forgetting that health matters.

Women’s belittlement, objectification and false perfection exhibited in advertising has long been the subject of controversial discourse. In 2014, it is taking new heights. As the disconnect between women and advertising becomes more prominent and campaigns like Dove’s “Real Beauty” advance awareness of how the industry misrepresents women, women are demanding a voice in advertising.

In the last month U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Lois Capps (D-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-PA) introduced the “Truth in Advertising Act,” calling for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and report on the use of altered and photo-shopped images “in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products.” While the act would be limited to providing recommendations, it is a first step toward awareness and transparency in advertising. Representative Ros-Lehtinen asserted the “Truth in Advertising Act has already sparked more awareness of the need to address the unrealistic body image often promulgated by advertisers.” In 2014, women are no longer accepting the advertising messages and false perfection of the last generation, they are seeking a new truth in advertising.

Beyond magic: the marketing strategy of Harry Potter

April 23 is both William Shakespeare’s birthday and World Book Day. In terms of best-selling books, you cannot ignore the magic power of Harry Potter that has been sold over 400 million copies worldwide in 64 languages. Beside its storyline, what made Harry Potter gain immense popularity?

Based on some articles, there were several key factors that made it successful. For example, J.K. Rowling, the author, was opened and engaged to both the promotion and the production of Harry Potter’s movies and other campaigns. Her compelling personal story was story of a single mother trying to support herself and her baby through her writing was nearly as well-known as her books. Another interesting strategy was the different book covers (including adults’ version and children’s version) created for different target audiences in different countries.


We heard the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. But when deciding which books we want to pick up, most of us will admit that sometimes we do judge books by their covers. The cover design can both capture the spirit of the book and make the book more appealing to catch customers’ eyes to read the contents.

There are several reasons to create varied book covers (and titles) for different audiences. First, different age groups have different preference and different countries have different markets. To attract more customers, book cover can be a way to satisfy customers’ preference in order to increase their willingness to pay. It can also force adults to classify themselves to buy different books for them and their children due to the images of different covers. In addition, for die-hard fans, they are willing to purchase and collect the different covers.

However, some people critique that redesigning book covers is that publishers are tapping into a larger, more worrying desire for consumers to continually canonize the literature. For customers, it seems to allow the cover to tell half the story and their reading habits.

Although designing varied book covers is somehow controversial with a higher cost, “One fits all” may not a good idea at all because no one book fits every reader, no one cover fits every market.

World’s Toughest Job, #worldstoughestjob

(Warning: Spolier Alert – if you have not watched the video, you may want to do so before reading the blog)

With the upcoming Mother’s Day, the ad campaign “World Toughest Job” has over 14 million views on YouTube within six days of posting. The YouTube video, which was published on Monday, April 14, 2014, reached 4 million views by Tuesday evening.

The idea for the viral video campaign for greeting card maker, American Greetings, was based on a true story. A member of the creative staff from the Boston advertising firm, Mullen, based the story from noticing her sister-in-law’s extremely difficult job of caring for her baby at a family gathering a few months ago.

The viral video is a collection of job interviews conducted over skype for the position of “Director of Operations” that the ad firm posted online. The interviewer gradually reveals the job requirements that became increasingly outrages and most would probably not pass any legal employment standards – here is a list of the job requirements the interviewees were told:

  • It’s not just a job, it is probably the most important job
  • Mobility – must be able to work standing most of the time
  • Constantly exerting yourself
  • Working from 135 hours to unlimited hours per week, basically 365 days a year (24 hours 7days a week)
  • Breaks for eating is only allowed only after the associate is done eating
  • Excellent negotiation and interpersonal skills
  • Degrees in Medicine, Finance and Culinary Arts
  • Associate needs constant attention
  • Sometimes you must stay up with the associate throughout the night
  • No Vacations or breaks
  • Workload increases during holidays
  • Salary: $0

The reactions of the interviewees to the increasing demanding job requirements ranged from shocked to disgust. They were then told that there are many people that are currently in this job position. The viewers eventually find that this job description details the work of a mother.

The video became viral mainly for because of the following:

  • Elements of great story telling
  • Elements of surprise
  • Positive emotional content that connects to its viewers
  • Creating relevance to current events (Mother’s Day)
  • Generated viewer reactions – both positive and negative that made for good discussion

PS: The viral video has created such an impact that companies such as Bud Light have even started creating parody videos to capture some of the buzz.

AdCulture wishes every mother a Happy Mother’s Day.



Global Display Strategy at H&M

H&M is a clothing and cosmetics company based in Stockholm, Sweden; it operates 3,200 stores in over 50 markets.

The global display guideline is created and tested in a store located near H&M’s headquarters in Stockholm; displays put part of the current in-store selection in focus.

Global brands need to be conscious about what “appropriate dress” means in different cultures and for different traditions. One of the essential principles regarding dress in the Islamic tradition is that it not be indecent; modest dress is an important responsibility for Muslims. The hijab is a veil that covers the head and chest; some Muslim females wear it in the presence of males outside of the immediate family. It is a piece of clothing but also has a spiritual meaning that conforms to a certain standard of modesty. Hijab also involves wearing clothing that is not tight fitting and that covers a woman’s body with the exception of her face, hands and feet.

H&M is conscious of cultural and religious traditions; although it has a global display strategy it makes certain adjustments to its display strategy according to local traditions. The following images show one of H&M’s displays, the first was featured in their Hong Kong website; the second one is an adapted version for the Saudi Arabian website. As we can see the image was modified to adhere to Saudi Arabian traditions, in the image we can appreciate that both the shoulders and legs of the featured female model are covered.



Culture, traditions and religious beliefs are important aspects that marketing and advertising professional should take into account when designing and executing global campaigns.






Patches Newest Video from Dove Campaign for “Real Beauty:” Marketing Innovation or Manipulation?

Patches is the newest video series in Unilever’s Dove Campaign for “Real Beauty.” Launched April 9, 2014 in 65 countries, Patches (also called Beauty as a State of Mind) is a mock clinical trial where women test the “RB-X” beauty patch, discuss their growing confidence and discover the patch contains no active ingredient. The simultaneous introduction of Patches worldwide reflects the “belief that [Dove’s] best insights are truly global.” The video has met mixed reviews, praised for its creativity and criticized for “going too far,” manipulating women and portraying them as “gullible” and “helpless.” As of today, Patches has over 10 million views on the US Dove YouTube channel.

First launched in 2004, Dove’s hugely successful “Real Beauty” campaign aims at shifting women’s perceptions of beauty and empowering women to feel confident about themselves. The campaign was the result of Dove’s The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report where only 2% of women worldwide described themselves as beautiful. In 2006 the campaign featured the short film Evolution, depicting the transformation of a real woman into a billboard ad, “promoting awareness of how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created.” The video won two Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards. In 2013, the campaign continued with Real Beauty Sketches, with women and strangers describing their appearance to sketch artists, visually demonstrating women are more beautiful than they think. Real Beauty Sketches is ranked the eighth-most watched branded viral video of all time and won anAdvertising Age Viral Video Award.

The Patches mock clinical trial was conducted by Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist at the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, and Columbia scholar. In the trial women wear the patch for 12 hours a day for two weeks and track their experiences through a daily video diary. Patches was created by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Brasil.

While some believe the video reflects the underlying issue of women’s internal battle with beauty and self-confidence, others call Unilever a “master manipulator.” Has the video gone too far? Perhaps. An obvious advertising ploy, the video walks a fine line. However, I argue that “going too far” is the landmark of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, creating thought-provoking and controversial videos that challenge our perceptions and question the beauty industry. Regardless, Patches is engaging audiences worldwide.


A model of Generic Brand?

We have seen a lot of advertisements in our daily lives. Have you ever noticed that there are some clichés or similar ways that every business likes to use in the commercial?

There is a popular clip called “This Is a Generic Brand Video” which generated 602,000 views on YouTube in just a week. It was based on a satirical poem written by Kendra Eash for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency then turned into an actual video by Dissolve, a stock footage company.

Why does this video make you feel so familiar? It is an amalgamation of every single generic brand video that you have ever seen; regardless of what is it for. We can see some similar elements of different advertisements from the clips, including doctors’ experiment in a laboratory with professional white uniforms, views of cities, smiling face on people of different ethnics.

As an audience, this video is so hilarious that makes me laugh. However, as a marketer, what do we do after watching it? Do we just admit, “That’s exactly how we work on the commercials,” and move on? Can we do something different?

This video can be a start point to stop a while and think about what we really want to convey to audiences or consumers. It seems that we have talked a lot in the advertising, but are they meaningful or just some clichés?

Someone may argue that we use the same model to tell the story because it works. However, can we break it out? Is there any more creative way or scripts that can really make our products, services, or the brand outstand from our competitors? Some creative advertisements we mentioned in the previous blogs are good examples. Even though content marketing is important, the key point is to send meaningful messages to our target consumers to increase their interests and improve the relationship. As we do not like to talk to someone who always talks with clichés without his or her personality, so do the target consumers.

Therefore, think of the goal first, and then incorporate the characteristic of your brand when producing any commercial.