Multicultural TV: Hispanics Still Not Garnering Fair Share of Ad Dollars

New York -- Latinos may be enjoying increasing influence across U.S. culture and expanded buying power to go along with their population growth, but when it comes to advertising messaging and spending aimed at this group the industry continues to lag.

That was the consensus among executives on the "Attracting Multicultural TV Audiences: An Advertising Perspective" panel, moderated by Saul Gitlin, executive VP strategic services and managing director Kang & Lee Advertising, at the Multicultural TV Summit on Tuesday.

"The simple answer is no. Expenditures aimed specifically at Hispanics under-index relative to viewership and cultural relevance," said Craig Geller, senior VP of advertising sales at NUVOtv, who also noted that agencies are not focused enough creatively to reflect this consumer base.

Holly McGavock, head of planning at Wing, said that while many brands have long recognized the opportunities with Latinos and committed resources accordingly, WPP's Hispanic shop is still working with clients who are entering that marketplace for the first time. On the bright side, more clients from the top down are recognizing that it's an imperative to effectively reach Hispanics and the multicultural market overall "in order to win."

Valerie Graves, a creative services specialist at her own company and the author of the upcoming book, "Pressure Makes Diamonds: How I Became the Woman I Pretended to Be," has spent time in the agency world at urban and youth-focused shop Vigilante. She said that African-Americans working in large agencies think and behave differently than those employed in minority-focused and aimed concerns. She said it's important for brands to recognize who is handling their initiatives and what insights that can be gleaned from their experiences in trying to determine how good a job an agency can do in reaching those consumers.

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