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Analysis:Do Preprints (FSI’s) work better in Spanish or English? (Premium Content)

It’s an important question for advertisers who reach Hispanics through magazines and newspapers. Other relevant questions and answers: What brands advertise in Spanish, which ones in English? Should FSI’s exclusively be in Spanish? If so, does it even make sense to buy English FSI’s? How does this relate to in-store signage and customer service? Portada’s editorial team asked advertisers and media about their experience.


Preprints/FSI’s are major revenue generator for Hispanic newspapers/magazines and also for direct mailers. “Inserts continue to be our biggest revenue generator, in part due to the savings offered to the reader”, says San Antonio Express News/Conexion’s Myrna Cortez. Yet, as Zulema Tijero, Advertising Director at El Tiempo Latino – the Washington DC Hispanic newspaper owned by The Washington Post Company – notes, “it’s a challenge to convince national retailers to run inserts in Spanish Language newspapers unless the retailer has a diversity department and knows the value of placing the insert into local Spanish Papers.“

Trevor Hansen, CEO of San Diego, CA, based Hispanic print placement firm EPMG 360 notes that  “Spanish Language FSI’s are specifically directed to the Spanish-speaking audiences which makes the reader feel more attracted to the sales or offers. “

“En ingles o Español?” What major Advertisers do.

BrandLowe's and Home Depot, P&G/News America, Best Buy, Staples, Dish Latino  Target, Sears, OfficeMax, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Valassis and News America coupon books, Petco, Smart Source magazine, local auto dealers, CVS, Toys R’usCVS

Source: Portada Survey Note: The fact that an advertiser is listed in one of the categories (English,Spanish or bilingual) does not mean they do not advertise in  another language

Higher Printing costs

From the advertiser’s perspective, it is more expensive to print Spanish-language compared to English-language FSI’s, due to higher costs because of the smaller and separate press runs.Jimmy Holmes, Manager, Advertising Sales, Hearst Multimarket, sells preprint (FSI) advertising for the Houston Chronicle’s La Voz. Holmes tells Portada that the advantage of Spanish-language FSI’s is that you “can control your message better and communicate to the reader more effectively. Most La Voz readers prefer to read in Spanish. However, Holmes adds that retailers have stated that most Spanish-speakers can understand an English FSI if it is a “price and item FSI.”

50/50 Split
According to Myrna Cortez, New Product Development Director at San Antonio Express-News/Conexión/!, “either Spanish or English works well. “Some clients use the FSIs they print in various markets in order to avoid extra production, and if it's already in Spanish they use it here as well.”

”Retailers would print a Spanish language FSI if time and budget permits.” Washington DC's El Tiempo Latino Zulema Tijero notes that another advantage of Spanish-language FSI’s is that they allow the reader to understand the fine print better. In other words the Disclaimer.”

According to The San Antonio Express News’ Cortez the ratio between English and Spanish FSI is approximately 50/50 in her print media properties. El Tiempo Latino’s Tijero also estimates a similar ratio in her newspaper. 

Relevancy is more than Language.

Larry Berg, Vice President Communications & General Manager, Newspaper at Valassis points out that  'speaking' to Hispanics is not merely an issue of English only or Spanish only.  e're seeing an increase in bilingual messaging across all of our print marketing solutions: FSIs in newspapers and direct mail, door hangers.”
“If we are distributing to a Hispanic customer, the more relevant we can make it for them, the more it will resonate. Not only will they appreciate that, but they'll be more likely to use it.  Language is an important component of appealing to this growing demographic but it is a lot more complex. Real relevancy occurs when you communicate on a deeper level, including offers, images, colors and phrasing that resonates with the needs and wants of the Hispanic lifestyle”, Berg concludes.   

Next Wednesday: Hispanic FSI/Preprints: The view from clients and the link to online-mobile coupons  

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