Finding the Line


Stereotypes toe a tricky line in ethnic marketing campaigns

From the mojito trend to bilingual packaging, the growing influence of the expanding Hispanic population can be seen throughout the beverage industry. Though many brands are adding exotic Caribbean or Latin flavors, others leverage marketing campaigns to attract the Hispanic consumer. Yet, one market research study found that using stereotypical images and phrases may not be the best route.
A study conducted by New American Dimensions, Los Angeles, compared Bud Light’s commercial featuring comedian Carlos Mencia to an ad campaign for Hispanic cable channel, mun2. The Bud Light ad, which debuted during this year’s Super Bowl, features Mencia teaching a classroom of immigrants with little knowledge of English to ask for a Bud Light. The survey asked more than 350 U.S.-born, first-generation acculturated Latinos their opinions on the Bud Light commercial and those for mun2.
Three ads were featured in NBC-owned mun2’s “Are you becoming too gringo?” ad campaign. The cable channel recommends a daily dose of itself to fight the effects of becoming “gringo,” a Spanish slang term for English-speaking foreigner. In one ad, dubbed “White House,” a Latino teen is shown daydreaming that he is president of the United States and facing an impending missile attack. The voiceover suggests that “Instead of dreaming about war, dream about nicer things.” The teen is then shown envisioning himself trimming hedges as a gardener.
The survey’s results showed 75 percent of the respondents rated the Bud Light commercial as “funny.” In contrast, 36 percent described the “White House” ad for mun2 as such. Respondents also said the humor used in the “White House” spot was “inappropriate” (35 percent) and “offensive” (20 percent). Many said they were offended that Hispanics should not dream of being president and instead should focus on occupations such as gardening. Though the depiction of immigrants in the Mencia Bud Light commercial could be considered stereotypical, only 9 percent found it “offensive” and more than half said they loved it.
Using ethnic stereotypes in marketing campaigns can cross the line as shown in the New American Dimensions survey. David Morse, president and chief executive officer of the consumer research company states, “Connecting with young, bilingual Hispanics is tricky, and few have yet to crack the code,” he says. “Racy ads can be risky business, especially when they employ ethnic stereotypes. Many saw the Bud Light ad as stereotypical, but respondents liked it because they found it funny. They were less forgiving to the mun2 commercials.”
The negative stereotyped commercials also affected the respondents view of the network as a whole. Interestingly, prior to the survey 34 percent had “very positive” feelings about the network, which fell to 17 percent after seeing the ads. BI
Water gets “-ier”
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral water is accentuating its “–ier” properties in a new marketing campaign. The campaign, launched in Los Angeles and New York City, uses the brand’s suffix to emphasize its healthier properties. Billboards featuring “Crazier,” “Sexier” and “Riskier” cartoon drawings for Perrier were part of the campaign. The brand also aims to attract nightclub and bar owners as a creative twist to the traditionalcocktail menu. Additionally, merchandise for the Nestlé Waters brand includes puzzle coasters, staff t-shirts, bar glasses and trays.
Corona supports spiking
The beer brand that often appears near sandy beaches announced its sponsorship of two beach volleyball events. Corona Light is the title sponsor for the 16th annual Extreme Volleyball Professionals Pro Am Beach Volleyball tour. The tour features the best beach volleyball teams from around the country and world to compete for cash and prizes. The 2007 tour consists of more than 50 national and regional events. In addition, Corona Extra is the presenting sponsor of the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, which will be held Sept. 21-23 in Huntington Beach, Calif. The event is expected to attract more than 1,000 beach volleyball players.
J&B starts a party
Diageo North America launched a multi-million dollar global marketing campaign for J&B Scotch whisky. Diageo has dubbed the brand its party whisky and will market J&B with the “Start a Party” campaign in more than 20 global markets. The brand’s packaging, print and radio advertising, digital media, in-store displays and on-premise locations will emphasize J&B as the “untraditional” Scotch for mixing, partying and socializing. The campaign stars what the company describes as the ultimate party symbol: the mirror ball. It also emphasizes Diageo’s responsibility platform, reminding consumers that “However you start a party, please start and finish it responsibly.”
Mystery model
St. Pauli Girl is using the form of a female model as part of its spring marketing campaign. Its “Drop Dead Refreshing” campaign features a silhouette of a female form that appears in print ads as well as outdoor advertising in select cities. The brand, distributed by Crown Imports, revealed that the shape behind the silhouette is model and actress Bobbi Sue Luther. Luther – and her silhouette – will appear on posters, electronic media and will be on the brand’s national media tour throughout the year.
Live red
Jamaica’s Red Stripe beer is encouraging Jamaicans to “Live Red” with its new marketing campaign. Launched on the island nation, the “Live Red” campaign aims to connect with the Jamaican passion for rhythm, music and life. The campaign, starring Red Stripe’s distinct, stubby bottle, features point-of-sale, merchandising, promotional packaging as well as broadcast and print advertising. A TV spot pushes Jamaicans, “Don’t Just Live, Live Red.”
Artwork exhibition
Mexican tequila Don Julio sponsored a showcase of the best in the arts in its “Nuevo Arte” (Spanish for New Art) presentation. The exhibit features works by Mexican and Mexican-American artists as selected by a curator of exhibitions at The Mexican Museum, a non-profit organization collecting Mexican and Latin American artwork. “Nuevo Arte: Colecciòòn Tequila Don Julio” will travel to New York City, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles through August, displaying the art collection and raising funds to build the museum’s new facility in San Francisco.
Portable distillery tour
Jack Daniel’s is bringing its famous Lynchburg, Tenn., distillery to California consumers with a bus “Experience.” California consumers over the legal drinking age will be able to experience the Jack Daniel’s distillery throughout the year at various events. The “Jack Daniel’s Experience” is a 45-foot bus with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment to bring a little of its distillery to the people. Interactive displays inside the bus include a distillery tour, Jack trivia game and information on responsible drinking. Consumers throughout the Golden State will be able to visit the bus at various sporting events as well as trade and consumer events throughout 2007.