More advertisers choose custom pubs to reach Hispanics.

“Give me a powerful database that can reach potential clients and provide an editorial environment compatible with my products.” This is what advertisers targeting Hispanic customers are asking for from publishers. Custom publications allow advertisers to produce specific content for a very targeted audience. While the number of Hispanic lists is still small, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to target specific sub segments of the Hispanic population (e.g. bilingual Hispanics or Hispanics with kids between certain ages).

The number of custom publications targeting Spanish-speaking audiences is increasing. There is a lot of interest from travel, automotive, and financial companies, as well as from the non-profit sector. Big box retailers such as Home Depot are also interested in reaching Hispanics through custom publications. Since Hispanic consumers receive very little direct mail, Spanish or bilingual custom magazines can be an effective way to reach existing and prospective customers.

According to sources at San Antonio, TX based Media Rare, The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) national advertising agency, the CDC is considering various custom publishing options targeting Hispanics. The CDC wants to reach Hispanic parents with children of a certain age so they are looking carefully at how best to distribute the publication (customized geography, zoning abilities [e.g. certain cities in Texas and Arizona], and database management skills).

Internally generated lists

In some cases advertisers have internally generated lists of Hispanic customers. For instance, Kraft's Comida y Familia reaches a large number of readers (circ. 1,000,000) who are connected by a common interest in food. Comida y Familia, a Spanish publication containing mostly recipes, was launched in spring 2003. It is published 5 times a year. A full page color ad costs US $36,500 (CPM US $36.50). “There is no better way to direct mail to a list of 1 million people that is continually being updated. If you go through a list broker you'll end up paying US $75 per thousand,” says William Vasquez, national sales manager at Santa Barbara, CA based Independent Publishers Representatives, which sells third party ads for Comida y Familia. Comida y Familia recently gained new advertising from The Milkboard, Kimberley Clark and Colgate Palmolive.

Third party advertising can be an important revenue source for Hispanic custom publications. Nuestra Gente, a Spanish-language custom publication produced by Sears (monthly, circ. 865,000), had US $1.71 million in third party advertising revenues during the first half of 2005, according to HispanicMagazineMonitor. In 2004 it had revenues of US $4.75 million (US $6.84 million in 2003). Independent Publishers Representatives recently stopped representing the publication for national ad-sales. It is unclear whether Sears will continue to publish Nuestra Gente.

Financial services

Custom publications can be an excellent way to increase the financial literacy of Hispanics. On September 15, 2005, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Visa plans to launch a Hispanic custom magazine. The new publication will have a circulation of 20,000 and will be distributed mostly in Houston and Los Angeles. Lopez Negrete Communications, Visa's Hispanic agency of record, will produce the magazine. Lopez Negrete and Visa are exploring various distribution points including Visa's Member Financial Institutions and merchant stores with high Hispanic traffic. The publication will not run third party ads. “Visa will use the extra space to provide culturally relevant reading material and helpful money management tips,” explains Rolando Rodriguez, public relations senior account executive at Lopez Negrete Communications.

Other financial institutions are also exploring custom publishing alternatives. San Antonio, TX, based Media Rare is considering a custom publication for an auto-insurance client that would target Hispanics who have been in the country for a couple of years.

The insert solution

Another way of distributing custom publications is as inserts in Spanish-language newspapers (see “Are newspaper inserts targeting Hispanics effective advertising vehicles?” page 12, Portada® No. 10, July/August 2004). Emile Stefanutti, marketing director at Miami based Megazines Publications, tells Portada® that a custom publication can be a very efficient way for a publisher to control profitability, particularly in a volatile advertising environment. An ongoing publication has regular fixed costs which a one time custom publication does not. Last June for the NBA Finals, NBA Publishing and Megazine Publications co-produced a supplement on Latino basketball stars. The supplement was distributed in the top 10 Hispanic DMAs in the same carrier newspapers used by Sobre Ruedas (monthly, circ. 640,000, Spanish). In addition, the NBA supplement was inserted into Spanish-language newspapers in San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona. NBA sponsors Bud Light, McDonalds and Nokia advertised in the custom publication. Megazines Publications intends to publish other “event driven” pubs, possibly a similar publication for the 2006 NBA finals.