National Ad-Categories: Bix Box Retail and Financial Look Promising in 2006

Look for big-box retail and financial institutions to dominate the national advertising
landscape in 2006. The consensus among industry executives points to steady
growth from mega-stores such as Sears and Walmart. Even stronger capital investment
is coming from the banking industry, which is understandably eager to cash in on the estimated $400 billion purchasing power of the U.S. Latino community. Never content to simply sit back and hope for the best, some publications are launching new products- stand-alone and supplements-to go after more ad-revenue. According to Mike Cano, general manager of Texas’ Al Día, it is local advertising-not national- that is the real breadand-butter of his paper, with local and classified advertising generating more than 57% of Al Día’s business. As Cano puts it, “You gotta grow the home base.”


Cano is quite optimistic about the banking industry’s prospects: This past year, the financial category accounted for around 15%-20% of total national sales. In August alone, however, the financial sector accounted for a full 50% of Al Día’s national adsales, indicating a spike in advertising investment, and a promising road ahead. Hernan Guaracao, Publisher of Al Día in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylavania, forecasts growth from the retail industry with big-box retailers like Walmart, Sears, and Kmart seeking to get a solid foothold in the Latino market. Guaracao, like Cano, also sees financial institutions to be highly promising for 2006: “They are clearly going after the untapped Latino market,” stated Guaracao. Asked whether he saw any particular categories in decline, he responded in the negative, saying that he was noticing growth across the board.

Others aren’t so optimistic about the seemingly limitless potential of Hispanic print advertising. As Julian Posada, director of marketing and major markets sales of Hoy, puts it, “Advertisers have become a lot smarter and even cautious about how they spend their money. Gone is the illusion that simply by purchasing ad-placements they’ll be reaching the whole Spanish-speaking demographic.” According to Posada, much of this reservation is due to blurry return on investment, and questions surrounding how effectively the advertising is targeting their intended audience. Asked what categories he sees hope for, Posada cites the automotive industry which is aggressively marketing its low financing rates and employee-discount
promotions. He also sees construction and classifieds as solid sources of ad-revenue,
noting the increase in new-home building and purchasing.

But what of the Telecommunications industry, which has been so reliable in the past? “Telecom will do all right, but not as well as it could due to all the consolidation that’s taken place,” says Posada. He points out that instead of having four companies with competing advertising interests and budgets, there are now only two, which is sure to have deleterious effects on that industry’s advertising expenditures.
According to Erich Linker, Impremedia’s Senior VP of National Advertising, Telecom isn’t going away any time soon. He acknowledges that while the recent mergers will most likely adversely affect ad-sales, the steady roll-out of new phones, ringtones, and other measures should be enough to offset the effects of this consolidation.
From a revenue generating standpoint, Linker sees national Retail, Automotive, and Telecommunications as the big three for 2006. Looking at growth, Linker again cites Retail and Automotive, but also sees packaged goods like food and beverage companies as quite promising.
He attributes growth in this area largely to the high-profile 2006 Soccer World Cup, for which Impremedia is rolling out a massive initiative under the heading Golazo! 2006. Big food and beverage companies such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola will undoubtedly be opening up their coffers for the chance to reach the coveted Hispanic audience during such a frenzied event as the World Cup.