Bridges Co-founder Ashley Quintana recently had an research article published in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. The academic piece is called "Code Switching and the Hispanic Consumer: The Effects of Acculturation on the Language of Advertising Among Hispanics" and it seeks to find the most effective ways of advertising to the Hispanic market.
We asked Ashley a few questions about her research, and how it can help a product reach this large market segment.
Why did you write this piece?
I wrote this piece as a part of my master’s thesis. My advisor, Dr. Cynthia Nichols, made a point that the world needed to hear the findings, so we decided to submit it to the Hispanic Behavioral Sciences Journal. We're very proud to see it was selected for publication.
Why are you interested in advertising to Hispanics?
I became interested in advertising to Hispanics because I was tired of switching between the television channels and finding that the English language stations had well produced ads and the Spanish language stations ads were sub-par, dubbed or badly translated.
What is acculturation and why should I care?
In a nutshell, acculturation is the level at which a people adapt to a new culture. Whereas assimilation is replacing your culture with a new one, acculturation can be measured as a comparison between how much of your original culture you retained and how much of the new culture you’re taking in. As advertisers and marketers, this matters because our marketing message relies on culture to be relevant. Advertising is constructed by culture. We need to know what culture our market is speaking, and that goes far beyond language.
Is it enough if I translate all my advertising into Spanish?
No! You can’t translate an ad into Spanish and expect it to be effective. There are things that get lost in translation. There are differences in culture to take into consideration. For example, in the cleaning product category, most American ads tailor their message to say: “Use this product to clean faster and have more time for you.” In Latin America the message for the same product category is: “Use this product to provide a cleaner home for your family, and as a bonus, get it done in half the time so you have more time to cook and do all your other housework."
What do you mean by code-switching?
Code-switching is a fancy term for "Spanglish" in the context of my article. Code-switching is changing between languages, sometimes in the same sentence.
So how do I reach the Hispanic market with my great product?
Want to reach the Hispanic market? How to reach them is going to depend on WHO you are wanting to reach. There are as many segments in the Hispanic market as there are sub-cultures in the USA. I recommend speaking to an expert. If you’re looking to enter the Hispanic market try reading our 3 Fatal Mistakes in Hispanic Marketing.