A major question facing advertisers today centers on the use of Hispanic cues and Spanish language in advertising directed at Hispanics, and more broadly on leveraging Hispanic cultural cues to appeal across cultural background.
Leveraging our exploratory investigation of Hispanic focused advertising using our innovative AdRate methodology, we went deep into the data to extract a whole new level of insight to answer three primary questions:
- Should my ad be in Spanish or English?
- Which cultural cues should it use?
- Can its appeal “stretch” across acculturation?
For this analysis we have begun developing a new model of advertising effectiveness which analyzes how well an ad translates change in the favorability of the brand into purchase intent.
For Spanish-language dominant Hispanics, it should come as no surprise that ads in Spanish outperform those in English. But for Bicultural and Acculturated Hispanics, how do Spanish-language ads compare with English-language ads that are also heavy in Hispanic cues?
For Bicultural Hispanics, we find in general that Spanish-language ads more effectively translate a change in brand favorability into a change in purchase intent. Spanish is better at reaching Hispanics that regularly speak Spanish, regardless of how well they speak English.
It’s true that on average Acculturated Hispanics prefer ads in English, which is no surprise given that many don’t speak Spanish as well.
But winning ads for Acculturated Hispanics can be in Spanish if they use language to convey emotional and cultural connection. Take a look at “Souvenir” a Wells Fargo spot featuring a long-distance trucker bonding with his daughter over the souvenirs he collects when away. It’s a great example of an ad where the Spanish-language version wins out over the English-language version for Hispanics who don’t speak Spanish. (When the purpose of an ad is to convey functional information about the product, however, Acculturated viewers overwhelmingly prefer English-language versions.)
And the reverse is true as well.
“First Customer” an is English-language ad with a sentimental story of a boy serving his parents at McDonald’s, did remarkably well with Spanish-dominant Hispanics. (But keep in mid that a Spanish-language functional ad that landed cultural cues can do better for this segment.)
The watchout: if your product or campaign relies on conveying a lot of complex information, you need to speak to different Hispanic segments based on level of language dominance. Otherwise, Hispanic cultural nuance and an emotional use of language provide a superior method for activating Hispanics regardless of language dominance.