NEW YORK: Advertisers such as Unilever, PepsiCo and ConAgra Foods are taking a more targeted approach to reaching Hispanic shoppers in the US, reflecting the rising importance of this audience.

Unilever, the FMCG giant, has launched an initiative called "Disfruta la Pasion de la Vida", or "Enjoy Life's Passion", via which it holds events in independent supermarkets in western regions of America.

The company's "Vivemejor", or "Better Living", scheme also mixes in-store activations with a Spanish-language website and Facebook page, boasting over 175,000 "likes" at present.

Joseph Vizcarra, Unilever's multicultural marketing manager, told CPGMatters: "We have many brands that over-index with Hispanics, so we try to meet their needs with the brands we promote ... Our goal is to connect with Hispanic consumers in ways that allow them to experience the brands."

Elsewhere, General Mills, the food specialist, publishes Qué Rica Vida magazine, which is available for free to 350,000 readers through numerous stores and community centres.

It is also currently offering free music downloads to customers buying certain products, and running a competition giving entrants the chance to win a trip to an annual concert held by Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster, in New York.

Larry Young, CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the drinks conglomerate, similarly revealed recently that the company is "spending heavily" on engaging Hispanic shoppers, such as via a tie-up with the Lucha Libre wrestling association.

Equally, André J. Hawaux, president of ConAgra Foods' consumer division, reported late last year that it would ramp up expenditure in this area.

"We've made significantly more investments in Hispanic marketing," he said. "And we have more plans, as we look at our three-year strategic plan of marketing, to do even more in that space."

Javier Farfan, director of cultural branding for PepsiCo, suggested the best efforts here used content and messages relevant to Hispanic shoppers but had mainstream appeal, not least because of an increasing crossover between these audiences.

"I think back in the day… the Hispanic community, and more power to them, created a marketplace for themselves that said, 'Hey, we need a voice within the media,'" he argued. "But I think it simplified who we were now that we're going to second and third generation."

Figures from Kantar Media, the insights provider, showed that expenditure among the top ten advertisers in Hispanic media last year - a group including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, McDonald's and General Mills - rose by 29.2% to $1.4bn.

Data sourced from CPGMatters, SeekingAlpha, Fox News, Mediapost; additional content by Warc staff