How Wired are Hispanic Consumers?

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tom_kadalaOpinion: A Recent Study Reveals Surprising Results

Toyota’s Super Bowl ad last year for its new hybrid Camry line appeared to have resonated well with Hispanic viewers. It struck an emotional chord in which the harmony of being bilingual and bi-cultural was comparable to the perfect ride of a vehicle that runs on both gas and electric energy.

The ad revealed a side of the Hispanic consumer that many marketers may be missing. On the surface some industry leaders might have expected the Latino viewer to have reacted favorably to the ad because of its innovative hybrid breakthrough technology. They also probably believe that Hispanics must be a fairly well wired community, living and breathing in an online world.

“Not so!”, says the PEW Hispanic Center, a leading Hispanic research advocacy group in Washington D.C. A recent research study showed that nearly 48% of the Mexican Hispanic population living in the US have never logged on to the Internet. The Mexican Hispanic population accounts for over two-thirds of the total Hispanic population, which makes the number of wired Hispanics much lower than what most corporations believe it to be.

Part of the reason why Hispanics have not embraced the online world could be explained by the success of Toyota’s television ad. It was not the hybrid breakthrough technology that aroused viewers’ feelings; but rather the content of the message which directly addressed their Latino identity.

To understand the Latino identity one must place them in perspective. Consider what it must be like for Hispanics who, like myself, must also know how to interact with over 30 different Spanish-speaking cultures. To this image, add the pressures of living in the US and having to adapt to a new set of socially acceptable remarks and ideology; and only then can one start to get a sense of the complexity of the Latino identity.

What should corporations do to reach Hispanic consumers? If Toyota’s TV ad can teach us a lesson or two, marketers selling to the Hispanic consumer should seek effective ways to cater to the Latino identity both on and offline.

To evaluate their different options, a good starting point for such an assignment would require a reliable source for primary market research data.
Toyota may have scored a home run with their ad, but the question remains, “Was it beginner’s luck?”.

— To view Toyota’s ad click here.

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