Growth in Bicultural Segment Drives Media Changes

Recently SiTV announced that it would be changing its name to “Nuvo TV,” and shifting its focus to attract bicultural Latinos.

As stated in the article, the move is made in an effort to reach the nation’s growing Latino population. The U.S. Census is expected to reveal significant growth, not only among Latinos, but among Latinos born in the U.S.   The U.S.-born Latino is something that the industry has been discussing for some time, but this move finally represents action.   This is just one example of marketers and brands finally understanding/accepting that the bicultural segment represents the biggest opportunity, and solidifies long term strategies in the Hispanic space.

The numbers show that three out of four speak English well or very well, and that language does not drive media consumption.  The new generation of Latino is seamlessly consuming media in both languages and preference is driven by relevant programming.  In a single day, your average American Latino may engage with Comedy Central, Univision, Facebook, YouTube and their local hip-hop radio station.  The reality is that separation is gone.  Media can no longer be viewed through a Hispanic and/or a general market lens.  It is all one landscape where consumers’ pick and choose what they want, when they want it and how they get it.

As multicultural advertisers, we must take notice of these interesting transformations which are rapidly evolving the way we look at marketing.   Mainstream media struggles to stay viable and relevant; the ethnic media industry is growing to levels that were never anticipated. Whether we want it or not, the industry will change and we will see the Hispanic, African-American and Asian sector become the new “mainstream” media universe.  I guess we were all just waiting on the 2010 Census to make it official.

March 17, 2011   1 Comment

Niños Californianos: A New Face For California Youth

Last week, early census numbers revealed that more than half of the children in California are Latino.  The country’s most populous state is the first to follow the forecasts of Hispanics overtaking whites as the largest minority.  If you’d like to read a little more about this new statistic, check it out here.

This confirms that Hispanics are indeed the face of California’s future (as if we didn’t already know).  A state like California, rich in culture, and the once main destination for many Americans, is yet again in a state of flux.  Only this time, it is facing a different challenge.  Regardless of what the numbers say, this reality is a tough one for many people to swallow.  California is the setting for a bulk of Hispanic history in America, so this news seems very fitting, especially for the time.  And considering the state’s political landscape, changes like these are more welcomed than they are in other regions of the country.  But California will not be the only state where Hispanics take the lead for long.  So any local or state initiatives that affect Hispanics will serve as a model for other states soon to follow the trend.

The most important initiative must be education.  With most children in Cali now being Latino, efforts to revitalize and sustain quality education, maintain schools, and recruit and retain well-qualified teachers can no longer be segmented.  When you live in a state where most of your children are Hispanic, and when Hispanics are more likely to drop out of school than any other group, reaching them is not an option and should not be taken lightly.

In our work with the local Hispanic high schools, we have met so many promising students with the will and the wit to not only get into college, but excel in college.  Young Hispanics in America stand out.  Many times their focus is on the wrong thing, but under no circumstances does this mean they’re not smart.  They’re born with a common sense many adults don’t even possess, and whether it’s through their own experiences, or witnessing their parents’ drive, they understand hard work.  If California is going to continue serving as a pillar of this nation, the state’s leaders much begin connecting with its children now.  And although education needs to remain the focus, merely getting to know them, and learning to understand how they think must be achieved as well.  And it needs to happen now.  I read a distasteful article the other day published by Tulsa World titled “Hispanic Population Growing; we must deal with it.”  Granted, even though the home of many Indian reservations, Oklahoma isn’t exactly considered famous for its embracement of diversity.  But this article was published less than a month ago, and proves that if the kids in California are already mostly Hispanic, then the rest of the country still has quite a ways to go.

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March 15, 2011   1 Comment

Latino Teens & Young Adults Garner Attention from Industry

Change is inevitable and while we don’t know what the future holds, there are certain things that cannot be ignored.  This country has always been destined for change as different waves of immigrants have redefined what it is to be “American.”  Again, we face a similar movement with this generation of multicultural young adults, led by Hispanic growth. It continues to move this nation in a new direction and the industry is taking note.

Jacqueline Hernandez, Chief Operating Officer, Telemundo, Communications Group, Inc. states that in next 40 years the U.S. population will expand by one hundred million people fueled primarily by US Hispanics.

Based on the currently reality, Telemundo understanding the potential of this audience, conducted a study that analyzes the State of Young Latino Americans (YLA’s), defined as 18-34 year olds, whose country of origin is in Latin America and who live in the U.S.   They are not the only ones that are making this push to further understand one of the fastest growing and increasingly important segments of the population.  Marketers such as McDonald’s, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Adidas, Apple and Motorola understand that these consumers will determine the future success of their brand.

Key highlights from the study include:

YLAS are highly maintaining their culture and heritage while still embracing their American Lifestyle.

YLAS love being bi-cultural. More than one third (37%) of YLAS self-identified themselves as both Hispanic and American, identifying with both cultures equally the same. At the other end of the spectrum, only 2% felt more American than Hispanic. YLAS are in the midst of a retro-acculturation explosion. Because of the YLAS strong pride in their homeland and country of origin, this generation is re-discovering their heritage and is experiencing a Latino re-awakening. YLAS are going from “George” to “Jorge.”

For YLAS it is easy to toggle in and out of both the Hispanic and American cultures.

YLAS live in a cultural fluid environment. YLAS best describe their closest group of friends an EQUAL mix of Latino and American, in fact, 48% ‘hung out’ with this group of people. In this continuum, YLAS were least likely to have only non-Latino friends, representing only 2% of those surveyed.

YLAS have no language boundaries or barriers.

YLAS language mobility greatly depends on the place or situation they are in – they are chameleons in their space – they control it and they like it! At home, where the TVs are on, and with family – a larger percent choose to speak Spanish (39% at home, 55% with family); while at work (74%) and school (79%) the preference was English. Last but not least, among their friends, YLAs practice a mix of Spanglish.

YLAS are the always-connected generation.

YLAS are multi-taskers. YLAS are always consuming high levels of anything technological: 94% have access to the Internet at home; 84% Have high-speed internet; and 87% stream video content, with another 73% that listen to music on the internet. Laptop ownership has taken precedence over desktop, with 73% that own a PC or a Mac.

With a huge strength in mobile usage, a high percent (87%) of YLAS cannot live without it. YLAS are great multi-taskers as many of the activities they focus on are also centered among an online environment. While a majority they told us they eat while watching television (80%), they also text (61%), talk on the phone (60%) and surf the web (50%).

As the market continues to evolve, more and more brands will come to realize the buying power and influence of this next Latino generation.

Sources:, Telemundo State of Young Latino Americans (YLA’s) Study

March 10, 2011   5 Comments

Latino Teens & The Sexting Epidemic

Texting continues to make the headlines, but unfortunately most of the attention is placed on the growing epidemic of doing it while driving.  More and more, texting has become a centerpiece in teens’ social lives and taking an active role in their sexual activity.  A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging. Fifteen percent say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.  Sexting has quickly become an epidemic.

“Teens explained how sexually suggestive images have become a form of relationship currency,” said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist and author of the report. “These images are shared as a part of or instead of sexual activity, or as a way of starting or maintaining a relationship with a significant other. And they are also passed along to friends for their entertainment value, as a joke or for fun.”

Teens are also faced with overwhelming accounts of peer pressure to share sexually suggestive content. One high school girl that has been quoted mentioned: “When I was about 14-15 years old, I received/sent these types of pictures. Boys usually ask for them or start that type of conversation. My boyfriend, or someone I really liked asked for them. And I felt like if I didn’t do it, they wouldn’t continue to talk to me. At the time, it was no big deal. But looking back, it was definitely inappropriate and over the line.”

Another aspect that today’s teens don’t understand is that anything shared electronically lasts forever.  This is a very important point that needs to be emphasized.  Education will be critical.  Teens need to understand the long term implication to near sighted decisions.  More and more people are negatively impacted by their digital footprint.  Teens have been suspended, fired from jobs, charged with child pornography and refused admission at colleges for participating in sexually inappropriate activity online.

The key takeaway here is that in today’s environment, nothing is PRIVATE and has a PERMANENT effect on the rest of their lives.

March 8, 2011   2 Comments

Adios 2010

It’s been a little while.  First of all, Happy 2011!  Brand Lateen has been up and running for almost a full year, and we’re excited to see what this year has in store for us.  As we gear up for yet another year of discoveries about our evolving young Latino consumer, let’s first bid a proper despedida to 2010.

I’ll start with an update on how our program at W.H. Adamson High School finished out.  Our four classes did a wonderful job, and we saw a positive change in attitude in many of the students.  From having little to no interest in advertising, and very limited knowledge of the field, a lot of the students had done a complete 180 by the last day of the program.  As they came closer to a finished product, enthusiasm we had not seen prior began to emerge from many of them.

We ended it all with a day at the agency and then each class presented their campaigns to a board of judges.  The judges chose the Boost Mobile campaign as the winner based on how well-thought out and consistent it was throughout.  Their presentation had the least hiccups of any of the groups, and they kept their audience engaged and informed.  Their creative was very in touch with the brand, and much of the artwork done for the project was outstanding.  Each person in the Boost Mobile group was awarded a $10 gift certificate to Target, a free extra value meal and a free hot chocolate from McDonald’s.

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January 3, 2011   1 Comment

Lateens at school

I had the opportunity to go to W.H. Adamson High last week and see our classes brainstorm ideas for their advertising campaigns. See related topic on previous post, and the takeaway of my experience below.

I LOVE being around Lateens. Young people in general, but Lateens in particular because every time I leave the school or I have been around them, I feel so energized, refreshed, so alive. Here are some of the words I wrote down while they were brainstorming that I thought best described them:

• Funny, super funny. They make jokes about the simplest of things every once in a while.

• Creative, it took them less than 15 minutes to come up with good ideas for their advertising campaigns.

• Short attention span, super short, you better keep them entertained.
I feel like you have to challenge them, make them think and make it quickly because they seem to get bored fairly easy.

• Real

• Sincere

• They love music. Music is their life.

• Smart

I know these are very generic words and I don’t mean to generalize Lateens, but I wish everybody had the opportunity to go and see for themselves, spend time with them. They are complex, yet simple characters. They are vibrant, yet get bored extremely easily and can come across as apathetic if you don’t look close enough. They are mostly shy, but school is their familiar environment and they feed off of each other’s courage.
Being around them was the best part of my day.

November 22, 2010   6 Comments

Little Marketers

I wanted to give an update on where we are with our students at W.H. Adamson High.  It has been somewhat of a challenge, but overall I am happy with the progress they have made so far.  As you may remember we started our adventure with them at the end of September.  There are four classes total.  Each class was a given a brand and their task is to create a campaign plan for products they themselves have invented.

The first class was assigned McDonald’s, and they have created the McOmelet.  It’s smart because such a product would be easy to begin producing for McDonald’s.  The majority of ingredients are already in place, and the class felt omelets would appeal to somewhat of a different clientele that McDonald’s does not currently reach.  The McOmelet alone will cost $3.99, and the meal will cost $4.99.  They are targeting working, multicultural people between the ages 18-30.  Their campaign will be based on the idea that “The new McOmlette is a new way to have eggs at McDonald’s.”  This is the more practical group.  They’re also the smallest, and least disruptive.  Go figure, this is also the class that our former super intern, Adan Gonzalez is in.

Our second class’ brand is Boost Mobile.  Their concept for a new product is the new Miii Phone, a phone that changes colors depending on how you’re feeling.  Remember mood rings?  Similar, but I think their vision is a more technologically advanced version.  For example, if the outer covering of the phone changes colors, the backlight of the phone will change too, so the keys on the phone will shift colors periodically also.  Let me briefly list all the other tricks this phone would be able to do: A super thin phone that’s screen can slide vertically and horizontally.  It will have a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, a standard 10 megapixel and video camera with a flash, flashdrive capabilities, tracking abilities, high quality loud speakers (loud enough to entertain a whole party if need be), music mixing applications, music searching ability, perfected voice texting, a built-in radio transmitter, free GPS, wireless earbuds, video editing functions and video conferencing.  Lastly, since this phone will be able to predict your mood, the class imagines it will also react to certain situations.  For instance, if the phone senses that you’re angry, it might start playing a happy, cheery song in an effort to lift spirits.  One student said, “Yeah, like…the phone is sad when you’re mad.”  Ideas like these are how they arrived to their messaging platform: The new Boost Mobile Miii phone is a little version of you.  Their target is a consumer between 18-25 years old with a slight female skew.  This class is bigger with about 25 students, and they’re all pretty funny.

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November 12, 2010   No Comments

Sufriendo en Silencio

In the wake of the suicide of Rutgers’ student Tyler Clementi, the issue of hate crimes against homosexuals has reared its head once again. Tyler is one of several gay teenagers to make headlines recently for taking his life as a result of bullying.

With all of this in the news, I started to think about how these issues must affect Lateens. Knowing that this is such a serious issue, weeks and weeks of thought transpired before I felt I could approach this entry and give it the time and focus it deserves. I wasn’t even sure if I should touch this subject due to the stigma and political implications.  During those weeks of reflection I ran across two reality shows that touched on the very subject that was weighing on my mind: MTV’s “If You Really Knew Me” and Lifetime’s “Project Runway.” Both featured brave gay Latinos who have struggled with who they are. Seeing their stories assured me that this topic should be addressed. To be sure that I wasn’t basing everything on reality TV, I was also sure to speak with a personal friend of mine, who happens to be a gay Latino and at his urging watch “Latino Beginnings,” a LOGO documentary about gay Latinos. In all cases, the outcome was the same: it’s hard being gay, but it’s even harder being a gay Latino.

It seems that the most common struggle for gay Latinos is coming out and feeling that they have no one to confide in. They are afraid of disappointing their families, which is not unique to Latinos, but there are cultural and religious implications that are. The Hispanic culture is one of machismo and family values, and being gay is not something that easily fits into those ideals. This is also not something that only affects our gay men, but women as well. A 19 year old girl, Marisol, featured in “Latino Beginnings,” is afraid to tell her mother that she’s a lesbian, “It will bring shame to the whole family.”

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November 4, 2010   5 Comments

The Students of W.H. Adamson High

Today we officially began our annual Lateens program at a local high school here in Dallas, W.H. Adamson.  The school is 98 percent Hispanic, a Lateen haven.

We’re excited to share that this year’s program will be a bit different.  In the past we have only worked with a single class at a time.  We have upped that number to four classes.  It’s a significant increase in students, but it’s important to remember that it can often be difficult to remain current on ideas relevant to this evolving target.  With more kids, our hope is that more ideas will emerge from them.

We will go in on Thursdays and Fridays of each week.  Our goal is to teach them about the advertising process, while simultaneously covering each of the industry’s disciplines and providing detail on how they work.  Once we feel they’re adequately armed with a sufficient amount of the fundamentals, they will be then be charged with creating a brand new product and marketing it.  Each class will be assigned one of the four industries: Quick Service Restaurants, Telecom, Automotive and Fashion, and they’ll need to stay within those realms when concepting their product.  Those are the guidelines, and we’ll try not to interfere too much when they’re brainstorming their new product and its marketing plan.  We’ll make sure they stick to the advertising basics they learned, but that’s about it.  We feel that giving them a high level of freedom with this project is going make for some interesting, more “out there” ideas.  We’ll emphasize that their preferences and needs be considered when working.  The more we can learn about them and what they desire is the whole point.

We have a series of in and out-of-class assignments we’re going to assign, but an ongoing one will be that they frequently update their “Idea Journals.”  Their Idea Journals will be where they document insightful thoughts, and of course, creative ideas.  The journal will hopefully serve a number of purposes.  Not only do we want their creative juices continuously flowing, but we also think it will be a helpful way to explore the minds of those who are less vocal in class.  The ideas that go into these can range from a cool concept for an ad, to an idea for a movie plot.  Hell, they could even tell us when they find a faster way to arrive to school.  Nothing is off limits.  We’ll also encourage them to write when they find things of interest to them: new Web sites, new music, new restaurants, etc.

As the semester goes on, we’ll be sure to provide you with updates.  Wish us luck!  Please let us know if you have questions or comments.  We’d love to hear from you.

September 30, 2010   2 Comments

Learning the Language

The following is commentary from our intern, Megan Young on a recent article posted by the University of Texas at Austin.  Please refer to the article here.

When I was younger, I always had a Spanish class in school. We didn’t really learn much Spanish though. The only thing I remember about Spanish class was making homemade tortillas and the only words I knew were hola, tortilla, adios, and queso. This doesn’t get you very far in the real world if you want to speak Spanish. I never really understood how much I liked learning Spanish until freshman year of high school. When I began to learn how to actually speak the language, it made me feel so accomplished to know two languages. I’ve taken Spanish for the past three years and sadly this year it couldn’t fit into my schedule. I miss learning about the culture and all of the different words and grammar to the language. I still get to use my Spanish language skills such as on mission trips and sometimes daily life, but not as much as I used to.

This past week, we came across an article called “Difference or Disorder,” which was about language disorders in bilingual children, and the question of rather it is a difference or a disorder. First of all, there is an experimental test called the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment or BESA, which distinguishes the difference between a child who needs speech therapy and has a disorder, or a child who just has a difference and is trying to learn two languages at once. This test is definitely helpful in trying to figure out this situation, but how do you know it’s always accurate? A child could possibly not be a good test taker, and seems like they have a disorder with the language. Another possibility could be that the child may not want to take the test and fails it on purpose. Even though it may not be completely accurate, it still does justice for the children who do have disorders and need help. It also saves a lot of time and money and fewer children are mistakenly prescribed to take speech therapy.

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September 30, 2010   1 Comment