Nuances of culture are important for anyone trying to reach Hispanics, from political candidates to mainstream brands to media.
Fox Buys Majority in National Geographic Magazine and Cable: Will Climate Change Denial Win?
The 127-year-old nonprofit National Geographic Society has struck a $725 million deal that gives 21st Century Fox a majority stake in National Geographic magazine and other media properties, expanding an existing TV partnership. The agreement will give the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s family a 73 percent stake in the new National Geographic Partners venture. The National Geographic Society retains 27 percent ownership. The move shifts the longtime nonprofit flagship magazine into a for-profit venture. The arrangement brings together National Geographic’s magazine with its cable channels and other media businesses. This is the second major deal announced in the last 10 days which puts together TV and magazine assets, the other one being the acquisition of Meredith Corporation by Media General. National Geographic originally partnered with Fox in 1997 to launch the National Geographic Channel. Officials said aligning the various media brands will help fuel future growth. In the Hispanic market, NatGeo-MundoFox (now MundoMax) ad sales are operated by Fox Hispanic Media. “This expanded partnership, bringing together all of the media and consumer activities under the National Geographic umbrella creates vast opportunities and enables this business to be even more successful in a digital environment,” said James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, in announcing the deal. Al Jazeera has another take: Rupert Murdoch’s high-profile purchase of National Geographic — perhaps the most esteemed remaining icon of middlebrow American print culture — has touched off alarms over how the swashbuckling Australian press lord may visit a Fox News makeover on the science monthly…Murdoch’s acquisition of a 73 percent share of National Geographic — for a cool $725 million — is especially troubling to the cause of climate science, since the National Geographic Society (founded as a nonprofit foundation for exploration and research) administers a $1 billion grant program to research scientists.”
A case in point is Pepsi’s new limon flavor. The new flavor was made with the help of Adelante, an employee association at PepsiCo meant to “foster relationships with the Hispanic community,” according to Latinos Health. In order to get the taste right, Pepsi uses 2 percent real lime juice. For now, Pepsi Limon is available only in selected markets in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as Chicago. We can only hope it spreads to the rest of us.
Don’t stereotype lifestyle or spending power
In fact, marketers still struggle to create messaging that’s truly culturally relevant and nuanced enough to avoid stereotypes, according to Carlos Garcia, senior vice president of multicultural at GfK Media. And this goes beyond not plopping a Spanish icon into a commercial. There are more subtle stereotypes that can keep an ad from resonating.
Garcia told eMarketer that Hispanics are brand-loyal because they want to stick with what they know, so advertisers trying to win them away need to focus on a value proposition, not image advertising. He said, “Be specific. Why should I buy this product? It’s just as good and cheaper, it’s the same price but bigger, it’s better taste, it has more natural ingredients, it has aloe in it, it has more protein, it has something.”
Garcia also noted that, while the Hispanic population as a whole may have below-average household wealth, it is still a viable market for higher-priced goods. He said, “They organize their lives differently. They have different priorities. They are buying high-quality, high-cost electronics. They are buying houses. They are buying appliances. They are doing all these things that the sheer income numbers would suggest are impossible.”
Sweet new hub for Latinas
Speaking of mainstreaming, POPSUGAR Latina, a mobile-first hub within the fashion and lifestyle site, aims to better serve the 12 percent of traffic to the main site comprised of Hispanic women. The English-language site will skew the regular diet of celebrity gossip, fitness, fashion and recipes to Latinas. Anna Fieler, executive vice president of marketing at POPSUGAR, told CNBC, “Our intent is to deliver the content in English, focusing on content for the Latina who considers herself to be 100 percent American and 100 percent Latina.”
POPSUGAR has partnered with JCPenney as the sponsor of the launch. In the press release, Eileen Carty, EVP Brand Partnerships at POPSUGAR, said, “Latinas are the fastest growing market in the United States, and this young, family-oriented woman loves to shop and gather information and is connected with her smartphone at a faster rate than any other demographic.”
2016 election could see spending shift
While political candidate have been used to reaching Latino voters via Spanish media, changing demographics may cause them to rethink their media plans for the next election. Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Los Angeles, told Aljazeera America that candidates must understand the diversity in language, culture and generations. In 2013, Latinos born in the U.S. made up 65 percent of Hispanic Americans. “[Candidates] need to understand that there isn’t a single Latino profile,” Vargas said.
Candidates shouldn’t simply translate campaigns into Spanish; they’ll need to craft Hispanic-centric messages. “The outreach is not about language,” said Felipe Benitez, the communications and development director for Mi Familia Vota, another voter advocacy group. “It’s not about Spanish or English. It’s about addressing the issues that really matter to our community and listening to our community.”
That could mean more intensive work on platforms and advertising, as well as more thoughtful media plan to reach acculturated Hispennials outside of traditional Hispanic media. Multicultural agencies should clarify their ability to understand this changing audience, while Spanish-language media may need to refine their pitches.