Do Hispanics Keep up with the Jones’? Part 1

Sep 11, 12 Do Hispanics Keep up with the Jones’? Part 1

We begin our blog on Do Hispanics Keep up with the Jones’? Make Your Ad a Melting Pot

One aspect of human nature that we can’t ignore is our ability to adapt, or rather our instincts to “fit in.” Whether you’re a thirteen year old girl who’s listening to Justin Bieber because all your friends like JB, or a thirty-three year old man setting up the new flat screen because your buddies are coming over for the game (they already hassle you about your mini-van, don’t let them insult your tube), you conform to your peer expectations.

While most of us have our individual interests, we also tend to have likes and interests that reflect the masses’. But what does this mean for Hispanics who’ve immigrated to the US?

As it turns out, Hispanics don’t avoid American conformation or acculturation; however, acculturation is a process that may take generations. A majority of third generation Hispanics or later describe themselves as “American”1. However, like most immigrants, first generation and second generation Hispanics identify themselves by their country of origin; only 24% of this group use “American” to describe themselves.1

The Hispanic/American identity poses challenges for marketers because the culture becomes layered (see chart).2  We have completely unacculturated Hispanics, who may only speak Spanish and live in Hispanic communities. Then we have Hispanics who are somewhat acculturated, speaking both English and Spanish, consuming some mainstream brands, fashions and products, but still identifying heavily with their Hispanic/Latino roots. Then we have Hispanics who have acculturated completely to the American culture, identifying themselves as an American.

Once Hispanics inherit an American identity, they still pose challenges for marketers. Even though they are adapting to American life, young acculturated Hispanics won’t always act or think like the American main stream.1 However, they also won’t resonate with ads that are aimed at unacculturated Hispanics. So what are marketers to do? Present them with advertisements that “speak to their roots in a meaningful and relevant way”1 while simultaneously exposing them to brands and products that are wanted and prevalent in the American mainstream. Simply, make your ad a melting pot.

“American society has always been influenced by the people who come here,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer of The San Jose Group. “Hispanics add their own spice and flare to the melting pot when they acculturate—in that way, Hispanics have changed the taste of the melting pot.”

Stay tuned for Do Hispanics Keep up with the Jones’? Make Your Ad a Melting Pot #2 in a future blog.

2. “Acculturation Chart.” (2012). The San Jose Group.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve recently sttread a blog in spanish as an exercise in practicing communicating in that language. Though I read, write and speak in Spanish, lack of practice is apparent when I give interviews. I frequently have to practice paragraphs of information so they flow naturally when speaking. It’s still too early to tell how the experiment will do.

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