For nearly three decades, Disneyland seemed to ignore the Latino market.
While the Magic Kingdom's advertisements have filled the mainstream media since the theme park opened in 1955, there was virtually nothing targeted specifically for the growing Latino market.
Then some of Disney's marketing experts realized that a big mistake had been made. After all, while more than 30% of the Los Angeles area's population is Latino, less than 15% of the Magic Kingdom's visitors are.
Now, Disneyland is desperately trying to improve those figures.
"We've tried to turn things around," said Mark Feary, Disneyland's director of marketing. "It's a market you can't walk away from."
The theme park didn't even attempt to reach Latinos until 1983, when it began translating some of its commercials into Spanish, he said. But those ads had little effect, and in 1984 it finally hired an agency to create original Disneyland advertisements in Spanish. The park is currently considering a possible change in ad firms.
$1 Million a Year
For the past four years, La Agencia de Orci y Asociados has handled the account, and it now produces more than $1 million a year in Disneyland advertising for Latinos. The park also now holds special Latino festivals annually.
Disney's Latino advertising is very different from its mainstream ads. The theme park's general ads usually try to attract Southern California residents back to the park by showing new rides or attractions. But the Latino ads stress one thing: families.
"It's important to show Hispanics that the entire family is welcome at Disneyland," said ad firm owner Hector Orci. The television ads show Mickey Mouse welcoming a Latino family to the park. And the ads also detail special facilities that are available for families at Disneyland, such as child care, baby strollers and infant changing rooms.
The ads, said Orci, "remind Hispanics that Disneyland belongs to them as much as anyone else."