Is Total Market Totally Dead?

Gonzalo Del Fa, president of Group M Multicultural and chairman of the Culture Marketing Council (CMC), delivered the opening address at the 18th annual Hispanic Television Summit on Tuesday (Sept. 22), declaring that “total market is totally dead.”

His comment about the previously popular media strategy, in which messages targeted to diverse audience segments were an inherent part of marketing communications, provided energy to his challenge for change within the multicultural marketing and media industry. 

He said, “one size does not fit all. Multicultural consumers want to watch content created by their community and for their community.”

Gonzalo Del Fa

Gonzalo Del Fa (Image credit: GroupM Multicultural)

Del Fa also addressed how the impact of current events like COVID-19, and the increase of violence, racism and hate, have shifted how brands communicate with their consumers. He said the industry needs to “evolve from where we are, to where we need to be,” in reference to an “emerging sense of a need for diversity in the work force … that there is a call to not just think about it, but to actually do it, and do it now.” 

He added that companies that do not have a diverse work force cannot understand why diversity marketing is important. In his perspective, they are missing the opportunity to tap different voices and to bring a different perspective to their advertising message.

Regarding the effect of the COVID shutdown on media budgets, Del Fa said, “I was afraid what was going to happen was what usually happens, that multicultural media budgets get cut first.” But he was surprised. When COVID started, all budgets were cut, not just multicultural. He added “this is a good sign that we are all rethinking how to plan to spend.”

Del Fa emphasized that “if a company truly believes in inclusion, it should then be a corporate requirement to have a multicultural marketing plan and budget.”

Sean Cunningham

Sean Cunningham of VAB (Image credit: Video Advertising Bureau)

The conversation of multicultural media continued with a session moderated by Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) CEO Sean Cunningham, who opened with a presentation of findings from the organization’s study of video ad campaigns targeted to Hispanics. The study effectively proved the points made by Del Fa.

Cunningham said, “we wanted to see if brands that use cultural messaging in their advertising see a positive reaction from the Hispanic market, and then does this reaction result in sales?”

The VAB study reviewed 3,300 video ads, from 50 major consumer brands, and came up with 20 case histories. 

One history that Cunningham shared featured the Toyota RAV4, which had a $22.6-million Hispanic ad spend over four years, featuring 13 different culturally targeted ad spots that generated a 42% increase in sales and over 100,000 units sold in the Hispanic market. He encouraged attendees to log in to the VAB website to review the full report.

Glenda Villanueva-Marchetta

Glenda Villanueva-Marchetta (Image credit: A4 Advertising)

During the panel discussion that followed, Glenda Villanueva-Marchetta, Multicultural Lead, from Altice’s A4 Advertising, shared that Hispanics currently comprise the single largest spending consumer group at $978 billion in 2020 and expected to grow to $2.3 trillion by 2024. She emphasized the opportunity presented by the market by saying “it’s just nuts if you are not spending in the Hispanic market.”

Steve Mandala

Steve Mandala (Image credit: Univision)

Another panelist, Steve Mandala, Univision’s president of Ad Sales and Marketing, commented that he sees a “new energy in the last four months reflected by the opportunity to directly reach top decision makers at leading brands.” 

Sandra Alfaro, executive VP and managing partner at 305 Worldwide, added, “from the agency perspective there’s a growing interest by advertisers to be culturally responsible and relevant. They are recognizing that youthful Hispanic consumers have Influence that goes beyond buying power, to innovation.”

Sandra Alfaro

Sandra Alfaro (Image credit: 305 Worldwide)

Mandala concluded by saying “There’s a pattern here. Whenever brands have a realistic recognizable consistent commitment … they see outstanding results.”