An interesting discussion has evolved on our our LinkedIn Forum about whether Copa America really matters to U.S. Hispanic audiences.

This discussion was started by Dean Schwartz – "Our shop just launched official Copa America merchandise. I wanted to get feedback from the group as to whether they think Copa America matters to US Hispanics."

A lively discussion is currently happening on our LinkedIn Forum. Introduced by Roger Tremblay, Senior Partner at Global Executive Search: “To maximize your career potential, are you better off working for a multicultural agency or a general market agency that has a multicultural or hispanic division?”

See below what fellow Linked in Group members had to say.


Diane Librizzi  -Communications, Programming and Content Development Professional • It depends on the goals of the person. The resources, experience, professionalism and vision will be more evolved at a general market ad agency. I know some of my multicultural agency peers will think that this is heretical, but my personal experience has taught me this. On the other hand, sometimes being part of a GM ageny exposes one to second class treatment, fierce competition for a client's ad dollars and the inability to convince the clients that multiculturalism is key to brand success, which leads to frustration. To me the ideal situation is to own your own company.

Arturo Duran -Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer at Journal Register Company • Specialization gets to perfection. Too many "targets" tend to defocus everybody, even resources became scarce. I would say a dedicated Multicultural agency.

Marcos Baer -Publisher, Portada • Its an interesting topic, and also a very current one as the industry is in flux. We recently, interviewed Martin Cerda, Strategic Director of Cheskin's Intercultural Practice, and he had the following to say on the topic Hispanic market specialization vs. more integrated overall US consumer landscape approach.: "I see the U.S. Hispanic marketing and advertising industry moving quickly from a siloed, less integrated approach to a holistic and more synergistic view of the marketplace where Latinos are better recognized for influencing, shaping, and changing the entire U.S. consumer landscape. Consumer insights will provide a better framework for deciding when to use either an inclusive or targeted strategic approach."

Michael Vinales -Regional Sales Manager NE, Hispanic Business • Excellent question, as I have been speaking to both GM media companies expanding their multicultural offerings as well as those dedicated to the Hispanic market on my current search for my next professional endeavor. The opportunities are different at each, and to Diane's point there are pros and cons to working at GM enterprises. I'm finding the interest, and need for multicultural expertise is growing at GM organizations.

Diane Librizzi  -Communications, Programming and Content Development Professional • The GM agencies are reacting to the Census data as they always do every 10 years. Only this time, there is more media, more dollars and more at stake than there has been before. I honestly think they are finally starting to "get it", as even Nielsen spoke about the opportunity at length in their conference a month or so ago. In the past Nielsen would just brush over any discussion regarding the Hispanic market, but at the May or June event, according to Chiqui Cartagena from Univision, they actually had the president (I may be wrong on his title) speak about the burgeoning market and there were many panel discussions and breakout sessions dedicated to the topic. Are we finally being taken as seriously by others as we have been taken by ourselves all these decades (notice I didn't say years! Lol)?

Marcelo Salup -Principal at MS Group LLC • Since I spent almost my entire life in international (not in the US and not in Hispanic) AND also worked in general market and US Hispanic, let me be blunt: if I were a young guy today, looking to build a career, make money, have fun and grow, I would (1) choose international first, especially the way I did it, which was physically living everywhere and (2) would stay away from Hispanic completely.

My take on many many dedicated Hispanic agencies is that they are full of shit. They market almost on a religious basis: "Oh… we speak Spanish, therefore we are right" but offer no proof of performance.

The good ones, the ones that act professionally, have insightful creative, care about showing the client demonstrable results, those usually wind up with a mix of general market and Hispanic assignments and in many cases, are gunning to be general market small agencies. So there is some writing on the wall there: dedicated good Hispanic agencies are evolving.

But, if a young guy chooses to join the Hispanic group of many General Market agencies, he/she runs the risk of being typecast as a "Hispanic" and then not being able to move into the general market. So, I'd say that in 90% of the cases, it is a trap.

Thus, I would avoid both.

My radically honest advice to anyone entering the advertising fray is to work on the general market side, work with good clients, learn everything possible about consumers and then, from a general market perspective, make sure that the advertising addresses all groups honestly. If a product has a high consumer base or high growth potential among Hispanics, then develop a Hispanic campaign (there will always be people who can do the actual creative); if a product has a strong consumer base or high potential among "6-feet tall blonde women of Asian descent who drive pink Corvettes" then develop a campaign to address them.

Avoid labels. Think big. ”

Diane Librizzi  -Communications, Programming and Content Development Professional • Marcelo, I congratulate you on your "cojones" to speak the truth.

Xavier Mantilla -Vice President – Director of Communications Planning at The Vidal Partnership • Mirroring Marcelo's career, I started with international but in the digital space working with global ad agencies that focused on reaching audiences in various countries and languages.

When I shifted to the agency side, it was general market, but digital would let us speak across language even in the US. At that time US Hispanic agencies did not embrace digital, and one reason there is a gap, is just that, the majority of USH agencies worked in silos that are predicated on language preference.

However in these las 24 months that have seen general market agencies enter the USH (and of course its about the budget), the USH agencies have began to adapt and change, so those old models that were "protectionist" now are broken, and we are having discussions about reaching the hispanic audience through context and content, not language.

This open the possibility of great advertising (and USH agencies have some of the best creative) but also poses the bigger question that we are not addressing – where does that budget come from? For our clients making a line in a p/l that is Spanish – its the easy way to do business. They also have to adapt and change as we are not a silo, or a separate market, in some DMA's we are larger than the GM, with more purchase power and we need to be messaged in a very different way.

That is the shift that I want to see from the client perspective – and agencies will do an even better job in reaching consumers across the spectrum of media.

And yes – "avoid labels. think big" that is always good advice. ”

Joe Ray -President/Creative Director, Estudio Ray • Good discussions stemming from a very good and well posed question! I think it's something that we all have come across before and continue in one form or another with how agencies evolve.

I agree with everyone's responses here. Diane- you're right, after decades of Latino professionals taking ourselves seriously, the GM agencies start doing so. Or paying lip service; something to always be wary of. Marcelo, you're right- many dedicated Hispanic agencies are full of shit. Their work reflects it. They are little more than glorified translation services and lap dogs. I have no problem jumping on those that do crap work if that's what they produce.

I think the opportunity for someone in a career change or entering this career is to focus on strategic, relevant work. There is no reason the GM approaches can't follow the Hispanic strategy into the mainstream. To think otherwise is an outdated paradigm (which unfortunately isn't dead yet). The main thing is to avoid the labels and the traps.

And yes, always think big. Otherwise, under someone's umbrella you will be treated as a 2nd class citizen. Little more than a day laborer with a nicer shirt. I like to point out that many of us speak/write better English than many in the GM agencies who only speak English.

To maximize your potential, it's about doing the best work and not settling for second best. Again, think big.”

Mayrah Rocafort-Mercado -Principal at Hispanic DM Solutions • @Diane & @Marcelo – Kudos to both of you for your honest, refreshing insights and no- holds barred frank statements. I started my advertising career within General Market agencies, don't regret a moment of it and, if I had to do it over again, I would do it in exactly the same way.

Let us know your opinion! Join Portada's Linked In Discussion Group!



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