It was in 2012 that McDonald’s aired a TV commercial in English that struck a chord with many Hispanic Americans, called “First Customer.”
A young man named Gabriel arrives early one morning at a McDonald’s — on his bicycle — for his first day of work.
His first customers are — who else? — mom and dad, ordering a hamburger in the drive-through and grinning ear-to-ear, snapping photos of their son at the window.
Gabriel apologizes to his manager, who brushes it off.
The appeal to Hispanic audiences was real and intended. Many Hispanic people could relate to the emphasis on family connections; the boisterous, unabashed behavior of the parents praising their child with little regard for his shyness; and the first job at a fast-food restaurant.
It was a good example of what we call “trans-creation” — a marketing message that goes well beyond simple translation from Spanish into English.
Transcreation is a message that is tailored to the cultural references of a specific audience, to not only “reach” an audience, but to actually “connect” with them.
Such cultural nuance will become crucial as the Hispanic population in Florida and the United States continues to grow.
There are more than 57 million people of Hispanic origin in the U.S., the largest ethnic or racial minority since 2003. Hispanics made up 17.8 percent of the nation’s total population in 2017.
In Florida, Hurricane Maria is only the latest reason for a spike in Hispanic arrivals, as Puerto Ricans flee the island’s devastated infrastructure and economy. And they have buying power, according to recent surveys.
Two-thirds of Puerto Ricans arriving in Florida since 2011 have college degrees, and more than 7 percent of them have graduate degrees, the survey of 1,000 recent Puerto Rican arrivals said. (Survey conducted by Florida International University and commissioned by the Puerto Rican Alliance of Florida.)
U.S. Hispanics currently have $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, according to Forbes magazine. And the expansion of the Hispanic population in the U.S. has been the main driver of America’s population growth since 2000.
If you want to grow your business now and, in the future, those are pretty important numbers.
Yet, many brands are not allocating budget to the Hispanic market or many are simply translating and not transcreating their messages and marketing.
There are many reasons for this. Among them are many are advised by their general market ad agencies that they don’t have to do anything special to reach the Hispanic market, because it is mostly bilingual.
White it is true the Hispanic market is largely bilingual, only an approach that includes transcreation will ensure the message resonates culturally with Hispanics. There are many issues to consider.
The first rule of marketing is, you don’t market for yourself or to your own perspective. We all have different cultural perspectives. A Hispanic person doesn’t think the same as a black person or white person, any more than an 18-yr-old girl thinks like an 80-year-old woman.
It’s important to make your business appealing to your target market from their very first contact — the first impression. That might mean spending a little time getting your house in order before you make a big marketing push. Have your brochures transcreated in Spanish, for example.
Companies having success in the Hispanic market like McDonald’s, State Farm, Nationwide and Proctor & Gamble know this. But a lot of brands just don’t know where to start. Finding the right marketing or public relations agency who understands the importance of transcreation is the first step.
If you haven’t started appealing to the Hispanic market, you’d better start. If you have started, you might want to expand your efforts.
By Wilson Camelo