Hispanic Heritage Month: Brands doing it right
By Cassandra Bremer, Content Manager and Developer at The San Jose Group
Each September, a growing number of marketers celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the growing Hispanic American community. Introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and later expanded to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Regan in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Latino Americans. According to the 2010 census, one in six Americans identifies themselves as Latino. While Hispanic Heritage Month gives Hispanics a chance to embrace their roots and connect with their favorite brands on a more intimate level, they know the difference between obligatory campaigns and true public relations efforts, so to succeed, brands must do it right.
“Hispanic Heritage Month offers brands a grand opportunity to really capture Hispanic consumers’ attentions,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer of The San Jose Group. “Often though, marketers forget about Hispanic Heritage Month by October, having filled that marketing quota in September.”
This case is especially evident in social media where the hashtags #HispanicHeritageMonth and #HHM have dwindled in usage from brands since the second to last weekend of September. Naturally, one would think that targeted social media posts would be on the rise since Hispanics over index in social media use (Pew Research Center reported that 80% of Hispanics use social networking sites vs. 70% of white, non-Hispanics).
While some marketers have missed opportunities to reach these consumers, a number of brands are truly making the most out of Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, for instance, PBS planned a full calendar, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, including a new six-part series embracing Latino contributions ranging from arts and entertainment to journalism and politics entitled, Latino Americans. According to PBS, this series, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, is the “first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos.” Supporting the project as a major corporate funder, Ford featured its Spanish-language campaign, “Si todo fuera como un Ford” (If Everything was like a Ford) during the broadcast. (As a side note, Ford has also continued using the #HispanicHeritageMonth on their Spanish-language Facebook). Through the documentary, PBS and Ford seized the opportunity to use Hispanic Heritage Month as a catalyst for recognizing, engaging and empowering their Hispanic consumers—truly celebrating and in that showcasing their brands in front of a Hispanic audience.
As Hispanics are known as sports enthusiasts, several American teams and organizations have also used this month to celebrate with their Latino fans, like the Cincinnati Reds who played in Los Rojos jerseys on September 27. Most notably, the NFL truly committed to connecting with their Hispanic fan base with every NFL team hosting a Hispanic Heritage Month event—several teams including the Colts and Falcons hosted football clinics for Hispanic youth, the Saints featured Hispanic Heritage-themed messaging and on-field signage during a game and the Raiders held their 12th annual Fiesta Latina game which included Hispanic musical performances before the game and the presentation of flags from Spanish-speaking countries. With every team recognizing the Latino community, the NFL has clearly displayed their loyalty to their fans as their fans continually do for them.