Understanding the Invisibility of the Asian-American Television Audience: Why Marketers Often Overlook an Audience of “Model” Consumers

Amy Jo Coffey

University of Florida

Management slant

  • Asian-American audiences tend to have higher household incomes and education levels, be younger, and make high-end consumer purchases at a greater rate than the general U.S. population.
  • Despite these desirable traits, when compared with the targeting of Hispanics and the general U.S. audience, advertisers tend to target Asian-American audiences at a much lower rate in all language categories. Advertising budget allocations are also lower.
  • Many advertisers report that they do not view the non-English speaking Asian-American audience as being valuable enough to justify the expense of advertising to them in their native language(s). Advertisers are more comfortable targeting Hispanics and investing in Spanish-language advertising.
  • Overall, Asian-language advertisers are more similar than different, in terms of the traits they consider important when communicating with their target market.
  • Television and advertising agency executives state that the primary challenges hindering advertisers' perceptions and investment in the U.S. Asian audience include its size, heterogeneity, and fragmentation, when compared with the U.S. Hispanic market.
  • Advertiser education and re-education are cited by television and agency executives as critical to helping advertisers better understand the Asian-American audience's valuable consumer traits and the opportunities for investment.