Corporations warm up to Hispanic Custom Publishing

Corporate America is increasingly interested in reaching Hispanics via custom marketing programs and, in particular, custom publications. General Mills and Fisher Price keep expanding the circulation of their custom publications and so does Kraft.

Toy maker Fisher Price recently continued out-of-home advertising and increased circulation on their custom publications to 1.5 million.

Comida y Familia is an essential component of Kraft’s CRM, along with its digital relationship,” says Art Markos, president of Santa Barbara, CA, based Independent Publisher’s Representatives, who sells advertising to third parties in Kraft’s Comida y Familia. According to Markos, “The magazine folio, published four times a year with a fifth special Holiday edition, will continue to grow in size as the outside advertising component increases, in order to keep a reasonable ad to edit ratio. I also expect the 1,000,000 circulation to grow as well.”

However, the full potential of this subsector of the Hispanic media industry continues to be largely untapped. “Frankly, I’m surprised that the auto industry has yet to develop a custom publication for its customer base. Healthcare, Technology and Financial Services as well,”says IPR’s Markos.

Markos, a veteran of the Hispanic custom publishing scene, notes that the sector has certainly grown as mirror or the overall size and strength of the Hispanic market as well as assisting specific companies with connecting with their customer base. Ten years ago, Sears’ Nuestra Gente magazine was the only custom publication for the Hispanic market. Since then, numerous publications have either been created or are in the development stage.

Some analysts see in the relatively small number of Hispanic lists a problem for distribution. Markos disagrees: “I don’t see distribution as a particular challenge. Publishers and other companies interested in getting into the Hispanic market through custom publishing will have several choices available for distribution – direct mail via the postal service(written requested is essential), ride alongs with newspaper networks, newsstands, subscriptions, or a combination of each of these choices. Whatever their distribution method, an appropriate outside audit is critical to the magazine being accepted as a legitimate print vehicle.”

CPGs entering the sector

Consumer packaged goods company General Mills' new custom publication Que Vida Rica (circ. 2 million, two different editions: direct-mail edition is all Spanish, and retail version is bilingual, 3 times a year) will contain many coupons for General Mills products. Coupons distributed within the new publication are to be redeemed to buy Yoplait, Progresso Soups, cereals, cookie dough as well as other categories where Hispanics show above-average consumption.

Distribution is through multiple channels. Through a partnership with Editorial Televisa, QRV is delivered as a ride-along with Spanish-language pubs including Vanidades, Buenhogar, Prevention en español and TV y Novelas. In addition, General Mills has partnered with non-competing companies who own strong Hispanic databases. In exchange for advertising in the magazine and at events, companies like Lexicon Training Services, producer and distributor of self-study ESL programs, allows General Mills to use their database of Hispanic families. Hispanic parents can also pick up the magazine at retails stores or subscribe at events and community organizations.

Fisher Price launched Spanish publicatoin Jugando a Crecer in 2004 as part of an integrated 
Hispanic ad campaign designed by San Antonio agency Market Vision. Three years later, circulation
has increased from 1 million to 1.5 million and the magazine now has two separate editions –
Jugando Bebé (birth to 1 year) and Jugando Niño (1 year to preschool age). Four editions of the
magazines are distributed to 1.5 million Hispanic moms as a ride-alongs with all of Meredith’s
Hispanic publications, including Siempre Mujer. Fisher Price continued out-of-home advertising
and increased circulation on their custom publications to 1.5 million. Meredith Hispanic Ventures
publishes five Spanish-language magazines and creates marketing programs for companies
such as Johnson & Johnson and McDonald’s.

Out of Bentonville, Arkansas

In 2004 Wal-Mart began printing its monthly ad circulars in English and Spanish. It also launched its own Hispanic magazine, called Viviendo [Living], which it distributes free at 1,300 stores frequented by Hispanics. The glossy quarterly magazine features profiles of Latino leaders and celebrities next to ads highlighting Wal-Mart's expanding line.

Other Fortune 1000 companies interested in entering the Hispanic custom publishing field include Countrywide Financial, which made arrangements with Casa y Hogar (Hogar Latino, circ. 867,000). Financial institutions Visa and Bank of America are also interested in increasing their Hispanic marketing programs via custom publications.

Not everything works

Some corporate publications have not been sustainable over time. P&G’s custom publication Avanzando con tu Familia was launched in 2000 as part of a major brand awareness campaign targeting Hispanics. The magazine was discontinued in 2004 because distribution was “too expensive,” according to Lourdes Ribera, P&G multicultural external relations. Avanzando was distributed door-to-door to 4 million Hispanic families.

As IPR’s Markos states, “I see the Hispanic market as the premiere legitimate growth market for print media over the next decade. The potential for start-ups is open-ended. Every market segment will need to identify their Hispanic consumer base and develop a media plan to address it. For some, creating a custom published magazine will be the most efficient and effective way to do that.”