Hispanic shoppers lure brands

07 June 2011

NEW YORK: Advertisers including Diageo, Nestlé and Kraft are increasing their focus on Hispanic shoppers, who are seen as a key future source of growth.

Johnnie Walker, the whisky made by Diageo, has centred its activity around celebrity tie-ups and events - an approach informed by research suggesting Hispanic buyers of the brand are typically younger than the average.

Its efforts have incorporated a campaign starting in New York, spreading across specific locations like Miami, and featuring a variety of DJs and musicians known to be popular with the target audience.

"In terms of drinker base they are the second-largest group - after Caucasians - but in terms of loyalty they are number one," Dan Kleinman, the brand director for Johnnie Walker, told the Miami Herald.

"This is our way to recognise that Latino consumers in the US have a different relationship with our brand. It's a vibrant, connected, fun and passionate group."

Money transfer expert Western Union chose a similar route, tapping Daddy Yankee, a Latin Grammy-winning reggaeton star, for the "Love in a Thousand Languages", or "Amor en Mil Idiomas", platform.

This involved a competition asking customers to submit songs about people they loved in English or Spanish, offering the winner - as voted for by consumers - a $10,000 prize.

"This campaign is much hipper than last year's because we want to position ourselves as cool and relevant and engage the consumer in a less traditional way," said Juan Pablo Valdés, Western Union's svp, US money transfer and Mexico.

Food giant Nestlé has also unveiled a new drink, Aguas Frescas, for this demographic, utilising ingredients such as hibiscus flowers, rice and cinnamon.

As with Western Union, Nestlé is running a contest to discover a new musical artist, via an online "virtual recording studio."

"Consumers with roots in the Hispanic culture will find that Nestle Aguas Frescas reminds them of home," said Juan Motta, Nestle's head, domestic emerging markets.

"It's another way to blend the best of two cultures."

Elsewhere, insurance company State Farm is ramping up its focus on Hispanic shoppers, ranging from corporate social responsibility and sponsorship to hiring a greater amount of bilingual staff.

"As the community continued to grow, we realised this was a market we needed to aggressively pursue," said Missy Lundberg, a spokeswoman for State Farm.

"We have been very active in our efforts to grow with this consumer group for a number of years. That fact will not change, and the recently completed Census data will support this position."

Indeed, the Census estimated there will be 125m people within this audience by 2050, a shift Emil Morales, svp and general manager for research firm TNS, argued advertisers cannot ignore.

"Growth is going to come from this segment and companies that don't get into this market now will be late for the party," said Morales.

To exploit such a trend, Kraft has committed to trebling its Hispanic marketing budget on an annual basis, and allocate more than 50% of Kool-Aid's outlay to this cohort.

Sivonne Davis, Kool-Aid's senior brand manager, suggested appealing to certain values would be at the core of its communications, recognising the importance many parents place on these issues.

"[They] are really worried about how fast-paced the American way of life is today, and that kids could be growing up too fast and being pulled away from home," she said.

Data sourced from Miami Herald, New York Times, Bloomington Pantagraph; additional content by Warc staff