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Ads Not Reaching Latinos, Publisher Says

Speakers tell Ad Club that while general market advertising addresses everyone, it doesn't have the effect that targeting the community does.

July 23, 1998|MARLA MATZER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The publisher of Latina magazine said Wednesday that many companies are doing a poor job with advertising to Latinos.

Publisher Christy Haubegger said that even though Latinos account for a sizable percentage of the population in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Dallas, few advertisers speak specifically to them.

Haubegger said general market advertising reaches Latinos, but it doesn't have the effect of a targeted ad.

"If you post up a flier for a party on a bulletin board outside where everyone can see it and say, 'Everyone invited,' I don't feel like you really want me there," Haubegger said. "But if you send that flier addressed to me, to my house, I know you want me there. That's the best analogy I can think of," said Haubegger, speaking to the Los Angeles Advertising Club.

"When people say they're not doing Hispanic marketing, I say, 'Yes, you are. You're just doing it really, really badly,' " she said.

Launched in June 1996, Latina is a monthly aimed at educated Latinas in their 20s and 30s and has a circulation of 175,000. It competes with several other magazines aimed at Latinas, including Glamour en Espanol and Estylo. Haubegger said such advertisers as the Gap, Liz Claiborne and Timex have done their first-ever Latino-targeted ads in her 2-year-old publication.

Haubegger said there are good reasons advertisers should court Latinos, besides their growing numbers. She said Latinos have larger families, "so when we buy diapers, shampoo or food, we buy more of it."

The median U.S. Latino household consists of 3.8 people, 1.2 more than the general population, she said.

Haubegger said that because Latinos are younger than the general population, they are still forming their brand preferences, making them ideal targets for advertisers trying to build loyal consumers. According to Haubegger, the median age of Latinos in the United States is 26, while the median for the general population is 34. That makes Latinas more likely to spend discretionary income on such items as fashionable clothing and makeup.

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"Latinos have buying power of more than $5 billion--you would think someone would try to tell us something," Cris Franco of Latins Anonymous, a performance group, told the 450 members of the Ad Club attending the luncheon at the Beverly Hilton.

Among those firms that see opportunity in the Latino market is Sony, which recently acquired 25% of Telemundo, the Miami-based Spanish-language broadcaster.

Alan Sokol, senior vice president of corporate development for Sony Corp., told the audience that Sony is confident it can pose a serious challenge to the top-ranked U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, Los Angeles-based Univision, by bringing "American style" production values to Telemundo. Before striking the $539-million deal last November to be acquired by Sony, Liberty Media Corp., Apollo Management and Bastion Capital Fund, Telemundo had suffered from a lack of capital, and a resulting lack of strong programming.

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Sokol showed the roomful of advertising executives a video highlighting the 12 new shows Telemundo will debut this fall. While the programs seemed to be of better quality than standard Telemundo fare, the ideas were retreads of such programs as the sitcom "One Day at a Time" and the game show, "The Newlywed Game."

Actress Maria Conchita Alonso (introduced by Sokol as "mi amiga, Maria Conchita") turned out to pitch her upcoming talk show on Telemundo, which will debut this fall. Alonso reminded ad executives that Latinos come from many different countries and backgrounds--they are not exclusively one nationality, one skin color or one religion.

A native of Venezuela, Alonso said that while she has been lucky to play a variety of roles, many other Latinos have a hard time getting roles or are typecast. Lamenting Latinos' inability to make inroads in entertainment and advertising, she said, "The Latino community is overflowing with talent."

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