Painful Advertising Mistakes

It does not take a sociologist to realize that social norms, interests, humor, fashion and social codes such as language vary from culture to culture. Therefore, when launching a campaign to a multicultural market, advertisers and marketers alike have to avoid a few faux pas that could cost their company time, money and reputation. According to a recent study commissioned by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), companies who spend significant campaign funds directing advertisements toward the Hispanic market are growing more rapidly than those who do not properly budget or dismiss the Hispanic market altogether. Targeting the Hispanic market is a must–as consumers, they are too large of a segment to ignore. However, marketers must avoid mistakes and make sure they are picking up on cultural nuances. Painful Mistake #1 Rule: Don’t just translate; transculturate. “Are You Lactating?” For instance, in 2006, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) launched their popular “Got Milk?” campaign in Spanish: “¿Tienes Leche?” However, the campaign did not reach the Hispanic market as intended when “Got Milk?” literally translated into, “Are You Lactating?” After the CMPB caught on that their ad was lost in translation and was being misinterpreted, they switched “¿Tienes Leche?” with “¿Toma Leche?” (or “Drink Milk?”). Some still argue that “Got Milk” really does not translate to Spanish. Moral of the Story: Instead of throwing money at an ad that probably will not be very successful if it’s just translated, educate current employees on the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture. Additionally, research the campaign’s message to make sure it will be relevant and resonate with the Hispanic audience. In all, research should obviously be a huge part of any marketing campaign; without it, companies are wasting their time and money. Companies cannot afford to ignore the Hispanic market any longer because the Hispanic population has massive spending power: an estimated $1.3 trillion by 2013. Just remember, spending the extra money on advertising to the Hispanic market will pay off in the end as...

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Trust is Important, Trust Me

There’s a saying in small Midwest towns; “What is a jerk’s favorite thing to say?–It’s just business.” Many people tend to be more profane with this phrase, but the main point is ideas like this are formed through people’s negative perception of business transactions where profitability is top priority. Characteristics like trust and loyalty seem to take a back seat to the all mighty dollar, although these attributes are far from unimportant. The importance of trust is clear when it comes to client relations. All organizations are leery entering into business with firms they do not trust. Even the most charismatic salesman will not sell his product if he cannot develop meaningful relationships. In actuality, businesses with the best reputations are not always used. This may be because such businesses have few long-term client relationships. In the long-standing relationships the businesses do possess, agency capabilities may not match up with the immediate needs of the client. To put it allegorically: would you trust an electrician that you’ve known for a decade to fix your plumbing? What if your electrician told you he could fix your plumbing at a lower cost, would you let him? Businesses that work closely with clients need to strive to be more like the metaphorical electrician. They must display a range of skills beyond normal expectations. This will not only yield a stronger relationship between firm and client, but will also leave room for profitability. After some research it seems clear on what needs to be done on the business side to earn a higher degree of trust between clients and businesses. Here are a few qualities for which clients should look and businesses may adopt. 1. Humility, Humor, Heart and Honesty- Overconfidence is a sign of insecurity. Too much seriousness can leave adverse impressions. Lack of compassion can lead to poor work performance. Deception can cost any company a fortune. 2. Demonstrate Trust- This is fairly easy to do. Make sure the client is kept up to date on everything...

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Mobile Devices—Our Lifestyle Connections

By Cassandra Bremer, Junior Executive at The San Jose Group Mother: “The iPhone is a terrible phone.” Daughter: “What are you talking about? The iPhone is awesome; the thing can do basically anything you want it to do: call, text, email, run apps, stream video, upload photos, Facebook, etc.” Mother: “I’m not talking about all that other stuff. I’m talking as a phone—making a call, receiving a call, checking voicemail, automatically redialing a busy signal—and that’s it.” One problem with technological evolution is the shift occurring in the definition of the word “mobile.” Mobile does not simply mean cellular phone anymore; on any given usage your mobile might be your MP3, camera, calculator, gaming system, social media assistant, bank statement… and sometimes even a phone; the possibilities are seemingly endless. This mobile term change does not just speak to the generational differences between, say, mothers and daughters, but also to ethnical differences between average Americans and Hispanic Americans. As the youngest ethnic group in the United States, it’s no surprise that Hispanics are one of the fastest growing demographics utilizing their mobiles for a verity of functions including browsing the web, updating social media statuses, streaming videos, shopping and online gaming in addition to that phone function. Even current market trends support that we’re becoming a more wireless society; in that sense, soon, everything we conceivably want or need will be “mobile,” and we’ll have to keep widening its definition, making way for these new devices and functions. In fact, the Hispanic market seems to be leading the shift to a more “mobile” society, with thirty-five percent of Hispanic Americans becoming wireless (ten percent above the national average) according to the government’s CDC wireless report. Ages and ethnicities aside, if we’re not bringing our photo, music and video libraries, gaming systems and social networks with us everywhere we go, we can assume we’re using inferior technology and are missing out on being connected—not just to our social networks, but to every aspect of our...

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Six Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Multicultural Ad Agency

By Tony D’Andrea, PhD – Director of Research and Planning at The San Jose Group “Losing a client” is a painful but almost an unavoidable fact of life in advertising. Although the winning agency would never question their client’s favorable decisions, the review process is often a mysterious one. And that’s not because of personal connections or personal intrigue, but often because key questions are not properly examined in the review process. This is particularly the case with multicultural advertising agencies as secondary but increasingly influential partners in the agency rosters of big marketers. Their rise reflects the nation’s shifting demographics which, despite some clear trends, still leave many marketing professionals confused on how to address them. For a more refined review process, below you will find some essential questions that need to be considered during the selection process of multicultural ad agencies, towards building a positive partnership. 1.  How diverse is the agency staff? Trivial but not so obvious. For starters, the ethnic background of a marketing professional does not define excellence (or even competence) in ethnic marketing. In fact, an excessive emphasis in one ethnicity – predominantly White America – may actually blind the agency to the realities of cultural differences. A diverse agency has team players from different ethnic, gender and generational backgrounds richly interacting with each other, with consumers, and their clients to deliver great work in multicultural marketing. 2.  What business results has the agency brought to its clients? Ad awards are an established tradition by which creative professionals recognize outstanding work in the industry, but, as often noted, it does not necessarily lead to a higher ROI for clients or even the agency. It is important to consider how an agency aligns communication strategies to the client’s business goals, and what it says about measuring the results. In the multicultural arena, this message often involves a discussion on comparing awareness, sales and loyalty across general and ethnic segments. In addition, it must be noted how the multicultural agency...

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