Hormel bets on the Internet to attract Latinos

“New advertising campaigns will direct the audience to the Spanish-language website”

For many Hispanics, a major deterrent from Web sites is that they are in English. They say that they would spend more time online and pay attention to more advertisements if they were in Spanish. Corporations and companies are taking this statement to heart as they are creating Spanish-language Web sites to accompany their existing English-language sites. In addition to its English site, Hormel Foods Corporation recently launched a Spanish-language Web site.

In conjunction with The San Jose Group in Chicago, Illinois, Hormel launched a Spanish version of their Web site in January 2006. Santiago Torres, Account Group Director at The San Jose Group, said, “The Hispanic community is quickly becoming Internet savvy and going online in record numbers. As a company with a strong commitment to the Hispanic consumer, Hormel saw an opportunity to be responsive to the needs of today’s Hispanic market by providing information they are looking for.” Hormel sees the Internet as an effective way to reach Hispanics.

The design of the Spanish-language Hormel Web site has a similar look to the English-language site, but is Hispanic user-friendly. The design is simple because the site is still young, and only the first phase is complete. The site contains background information about the Hormel Foods Corporation, product promotions, recipes that are of interest to the Hispanic market because they contain Mexican ingredients, nutrition advice, and cooking tips.

Also included on the Web site are press releases about advertising and public relations events that Hormel has implemented to cater to the Hispanic market. For example, Hormel Foods sponsored a “Mi Sabor” soccer clinic in August 2005. Children participated in a raffle at grocery stores in Los Angeles in order to win individual training, autographs, and photographs from an L.A. Galaxy soccer star.

In addition to the Spanish-language Web site, Hormel employs other advertising media vehicles to reach the Hispanic market. Hormel does a combination of advertising and promotions including: out-of-home, free standing insert (FSI) coupons, point-of-purchase coupons, and television commercials.

It is important to inform the Hispanic market that the Spanish-language Hormel site exists. Because the Web site was not launched until 2006, none of the advertising executed in 2005 directs its audience to the site. It is too early to determine if the Web site gets a spike in visitors when the campaigns are active.

In 2006, starting in April, however, Torres said, “all the FSI and TV components for each brand campaign will have some messaging directing consumers to visit the site.” A number of TV spots for Hormel Meat Products will have five-second tags that direct consumers to the site for more information and recipes.

When asked about advertising targeting Hispanics in the future, Torres said that Hormel plans to continue with television advertisements and will possibly expand advertising efforts to reach markets outside of Los Angeles.

As far as the Spanish-language Hormel Web site goes, it is still in a premature stage, but Hormel Foods and The San Jose Group plan to expand site content in the future to meet the needs of the Hispanic consumer.

Other food companies that have Spanish Web sites are Kraft and Tyson.

Heather Norgaard