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Hispanic TV Summit: State Farm Is There for Hispanic Market

Long recognizing the opportunities that exist with the burgeoning Hispanic market, State Farm continues to over-index when it comes to ad expenditures against Latinos.
State Farm advertising director Ed Gold, pointing out that 4,500 of the insurance company's 18,000 agent offices nationwide are bilingual, said, "We didn't need the 2000 or the 2010 Census to tell us that the Hispanic market is growing. Our agents have been telling us they need Hispanic marketing materials to sell their products."
To that end, Gold, speaking during a keynote interview at B&C/Multichannel News's ninth annual Hispanic Television Summit here Tuesday morning, said State Farm budgets about 20% of its ad expenditures toward the U.S. Latino market. Multichannel News editor in chief Mark Robichaux, who conducted the interview, pointed out that while Hispanics represent 16% of the U.S. population, only 4.5% of marketers' ad dollars target this growing group.
Gold, who noted that State Farm ran its first commercial aimed at Hispanics in 1996, said the insurer still sees great growth opportunities within this ethnic segment overall, and particularly those among the 18-to-29 set, who upon moving out of their parents' abodes, are making their first decisions about auto and rental insurance.
"There is a lot of generation to generation" business in the insurance world, "but if we don't get them now, we may never get them," he said, adding that much of State Farm's ad activity against young Hispanic adults is cross-cultural.
With people willing to shop insurance by price and Geico and Progressive engaging in aggressive campaigns thereunto, State Farm and All State have also lifted their spending. All told, insurance category spending jumped 16.2% to some $3.4 billion in 2010, with TV accounting for over three-fourths of that outlay.
Relative to auto insurance spending aimed at Hispanics, Gold said State Farm is the overall sector leader. Last year, overall Hispanic TV ad spending by the auto insurance category reached $198 million, a 21.3% drive from $163 million the prior year, which was down 8.8% from $179 million in 2008. During a post-presentation interview, Gold said State Farm accounts for close to 50% of sector spending here.
During his keynote, Gold said the Hispanic market has a passion for sports, notably soccer: "The World Cup may be a big deal for the general market, but it's a huge deal for Hispanics. For them, it's not just the U.S. team," he said.
As such, Gold said State Farm elected to concentrate its advertising/marketing resources on Spanish-language media during the 2010 FIFA tournament in South Africa. "We over-index during World Cup years, when costs are high. Thank you, Univision," he joked, referencing the U.S. Spanish-language rights-holder to the quadrennial competition.
In order to reach its varied Hispanic segments, notably women who make many of the household purchasing decision, Gold said State Farm relies on an array of TV choices, including novellas. While sports may be high-profile -- the insurance company has pacts with the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, where it title-sponsors coverage of the Home Run Derby on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes -- it budgets much more on schedules within entertainment programming.
"It may become a bit more even during a World Cup year, but we still spend much more on entertainment programming overall," he said after his address.