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Best Practices: Testing DRTV Campaigns in different Languages

Advertising Agency Mercury Media recently released a study about how to best reach Hispanic consumers via DRTV (Direct Response TV). An interesting piece of the study is the results it provides about doing English, Spanish and Bilingual DRTV campaigns.


Advertising Agency Mercury Media recently released a study about how to best reach Hispanic consumers via DRTV (Direct Response TV). An interesting piece of the study is the results it provides about doing English, Spanish and Bilingual DRTV campaigns.

In the 2009 Mercury Media Hispanic Index™ (an aggregation of results from Mercury Media long form DRTV campaigns that ran simultaneously in Spanish and English, represented approximately 80% of Mercury Media’s long-form Hispanic DRTV campaigns), brands that allocated, on average, 24% of their media spend to a separate and unique Hispanic campaign saw their revenue increase by an average of 47% and their revenue net of media spend grew by 71%.

The English language component of campaigns in the Mercury Media Hispanic Index™ averaged an MER of $1.63. That is, for every marketing dollar spent on the English language campaign it returned, on average, $1.63 in revenue. In comparison, the Spanish-language component in the Mercury Media Hispanic Index™ was far more efficient, generating an average MER of $2.44. Overall, brands in the Mercury Media Hispanic Index™ raised their overall MER to $1.82 just by integrating a separate but parallel Spanish-language program into their general campaigns. (Note: individual results vary by company and product).

In order to achieve these results, it is necessary to customize the campaign to the Hispanic consumer.


  • Target Latinos where they live.

Latinos have a language, culture, and viewing behaviors that are solely their own. As a result, what is required is a separate and discretely targeted advertising campaign. Brands that follow this approach are rewarded with a significant ROI.

While the 2010 Census is expected to show that two-thirds of Hispanics in the U.S. continue to live in four states–California, Texas, Florida and New York –we expect to see dramatic growth in the Southeast. Preliminary figures indicated a double digit Hispanic growth in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. For more details read Our Special Census Preview Issue


  • Speak to the Hispanic consumer in their language.

It might seem obvious, but too many marketers still fail to communicate with the Latino consumer in Spanish. More than three quarters of Latinos choose to speak Spanish at home, including those born in the U.S.

According to the Nielsen Company, bilingual Hispanics have recall rates 30% higher for advertising creative executions and the advertised brand when commercials are seen on Spanish-language programming. The Hispanic consumer is also more receptive to ads on Spanish-language TV. According to a Nielsen IAG study of bilingual Hispanic consumers age 13+, Spanish-language TV ads achieved a 35% brand recall score versus 27% for English language ads. In addition, respondents in the survey rated ads on Spanish language networks 62% on the likeability scale vs. 41% for spots featuring the same brand on English language networks. According to Nielsen IAG, these gaps were also seen for “translated” spots, where the Spanish language ad mirrors the version airing on general market TV, indicating that the television viewing experience, when delivered in Spanish, allows viewers to connect with their culture, history and identity in a way that may not be available in the general market TV.

For more about this topic, please read : The Question of Language: English, Spanish or Both?

  • Create spots specifically for the Hispanic consumer

While not always possible due to time and financial constraints, creating spots from scratch with culturally relevant themes and Spanish speaking characters for the Latino market generally yields better results. When this is not practical, utilizing bilingual actors in ads that are re-purposed from the general market are better than using English language spots.

  • Target Spanish-language networks and stations

As the Hispanic market grows, the number of networks offering Spanish-language programming is growing as well. In addition to market leaders, Univision and Telemundo, advertisers can now choose from a host of new networks, including broadcasters Estrella TV, Azteca América, AméricaTeVé and cable networks like CNN en Español, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, ESPNDeportes, Fox Sports en Español, Galavision, GolTV, MTV Tr3s, Mun2, Si TV, and Sorpresa to reach Latinos.

As the number of Spanish-language networks grows they must differentiate themselves. This is resulting in Spanish-language networks experimenting with different types of programming. For example, for three months in 2008, SBS built its schedule not around a rags-to-riches-andromance telenovela, a staple of Spanish-language TV, but rather around a weekly drama about a Miami vampire, Gabriel.


  • As viewing choices for Latinos grow, so too does the need to segment the networks

Does a third-generation Cuban yuppie in Miami want to watch the same shows as a Mexican professional in Los Angeles who just arrived in the United States last year? As the Hispanic marketplace shifts from first generation Latinos, where Spanish is the dominant language, to second-generation, bilingual, bicultural consumers, it transforms the market.

Hispanic consumers can also be targeted by their national origins. For example, TeVé America's news-talk offerings are strongly oriented toward Cubans, and the target audience of LATV's hit music showMex 2 The Max, not surprisingly, is more Southern California.

Source: Mercury Media and Portada

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