COVID-19 Vaccination Can Become the New Health Disparity for Communities of Color

Communicating the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine to communities of color and why people of color should get vaccinated must be done in culturally-relevant manner.

The fact that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color has been widely reported.  And, as the virus continues to spread, so too has its disproportionate impact due to many factors including systemic health disparities and social determinants of health that have long plagued people of color.

Now, studies show these same disproportionately impacted communities are the most distrusting of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A recent study conducted by the NAACP and UnidosUS found only 14 percent of Black Americans and 34 percent of Latino Americans trust a vaccine will be safe. Eighteen percent and 40 percent, respectively, trust the vaccine will be effective, according to the survey.  

This is not at all a surprise for those of us who know and understand the racial injustices surrounding vaccines that have been inflicted on people of color, in particular the Black community, throughout our nation’s history.  Many know of the Tuskegee Experiments, but they are hardly the only case of unethical and racist experiments on people of color.

So, what can be done?

Communicating the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and why people of color should get vaccinated needs to take on classic elements of strategic crisis communication, which begins with empathy. Both because of the historical reasons, as well as because these communities have experienced a disproportionate amount of trauma from the Coronavirus and from its ramifications including economic challenges.

This means governmental and health organization must ensure the people who are entrusted to develop the messages and the credible ways to communicate them to communities of color not only understand the historical contexts that shape their concerns and fuel their distrust, but that they are in an empathetic and credible position to do so.

This is not a case where the same communication and messaging can be done to all audiences or simply translated to other languages. Rather, messages must be culturally relevant, tailored and authentic to resonate with communities of color.  In multicultural marketing, we call this “Transcreation.”  

Further, organizations and governments should also enlist the help of influential surrogates who have the trust of their communities to help to deliver the tailored messages and get vaccinated themselves, such as Hartford HealthCare’s Senior System Director for Infection Prevention, Dr. Keith Grant, who has been vocal about the safety of the vaccine. The same NAACP and UnidosUS study showed that people of color would trust a messenger of their own racial/ethnic group twice as much as a White leader. 

The study showed the high trust among Blacks and Hispanics in their health care provider at giving clear information for making a decision, indicating doctors and other clinical staff – particular from racial/ethnic heritage – would also be helpful in communicating culturally relevant messages.

Transparency is also an important consideration for building trust, especially from governmental institutions. This is a time where it won’t be possible to over communicate to communities of color and to make extra efforts to leverage or build relationships with the institutions they trust.

With generations of distrust in vaccines and health disparities, the many recent racial injustices still fresh on people’s minds, as well as the Coronavirus, which has kept us all in a prolonged pandemic, there is no time to waste when it comes to ensuring communication about the vaccine is done in a culturally relevant manner.

5 Ways 2021 Will be the Year of Multicultural Marketing

Years from now, we will look back at 2020 as a seminal year marked by events that brought on permanent changes to the advertising and marketing industry.

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we reach and interact with consumers and brought digital-first strategies more to the forefront as a way to adapt to the reality of a virtually connected world.

But 2020 also brought upon a greater focus in the area of racial inequalities and how the advertising and marketing industry needs to be more inclusive and play a leading role in breaking down obstacles and systemic problems that greatly impact people of color.

Many brands and ad agencies, to their credit, implemented changes and became more aware of their role in ensuring equality for all.  However, not all have understood that diversity and inclusion initiatives alone will not help them align and prepare for the “New America,” when Whites will be the minority in the United States.

One fact that escaped major headlines in the midst of so much news with the pandemic, protests and the election was that in 2020, for the first-time people of color were the majority of people under 16, according to the U.S. Census.

In 2021, we will see other major signs of the growing “minority-majority” population and why brands and ad agencies need to go beyond diversity initiatives and embrace multicultural marketing as a business imperative. Here are a few:

  1. Release of the 2020 Census – The 2020 Census will continue to show a continued decrease in the percentage of the White alone segment and an increase in non-White populations – fueled largely by Hispanics. In the 2010 Census, Hispanics comprised 50 percent of the actual population growth in the U.S., and it’s expected to be slightly higher in 2020.
  2. Multicultural Marketing Included in RFPs – One reason multicultural marketing hasn’t grown in prominence is that its importance wasn’t always spelled out in new business requests for proposals (RFPs) – that will begin to change. Brands will expect agencies bidding on new business to also bring forth strategies and experience with diverse population segments and will spell out more specific needs in RFPs.
  3. Increased Collaborations Between Agencies – As a consequence of brands seeking agency partners to help them grow in the multicultural space, general market ad agencies will seek collaborations with smaller multicultural agencies to help them compete and win new business.
  4. Multicultural Agencies Winning More Business – As the “general market” becomes more diverse, more multicultural agencies will rise to agency of record status with brands who understand the importance of aligning themselves to the New America.
  5. Multicultural Agency Mergers and Acquisitions – Large general market agencies will consider M&A strategies when they either start to lose business or budgets to smaller multicultural agencies, or when they start to win business with multicultural agency collaborations as their major differentiator.

While 2020 was a challenging year full of constant change, it taught us to be nimble and to adapt to a new reality where the status quo just won’t do, and things will no longer be the same.   This includes our nation’s population.  Make 2021 the year your brand or agency adapts to not only the “new normal” of a post-pandemic world, but also the “new normal” of a United States where people of color will soon be the majority.

The Advertising and Marketing Industry Has a Diversity Problem

By Wilson Camelo, President and Chief Marketing Officer

At a time when racial disparities are at the forefront, it’s necessary we discuss the advertising and marketing industry’s not-so-hidden secret: it is run primarily by people who don’t look, think, or understand the cultures of those who are shaping this country now and in the future.

For an industry centered on consumer “insights” and driven by data, it’s frankly shameful how it operates when it comes to multicultural marketing. The “White privilege” in our industry is one of thinking consumer insights of Whites are adequate for marketing to other ethnicities and races, and thinking “multicultural marketing” is simply translating campaigns based on those insights into a foreign language.  

As the demographics in the U.S. continues to dramatically shift from a White majority to – by 2042 – a White minority population, the makeup and leadership of the advertising and marketing industry is not following suit.

According to a 2019 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey, only 12% of member Chief Marketing Officers identify as either Hispanic (5%), African-American/Black (3%) or Asian (5%). This percentage has slipped from 13% in 2018.

Why does this matter? 

Because the industry continues to fail in how to properly allocate dollars to reach the “New America,” which is increasingly diverse. Ad agencies, in particular, need to step up and change. Far too many continue to wrongfully advise their clients on where to spend their dollars and to develop creative without including key insights for non-White consumers.  As such, their “multicultural marketing” often takes the form of literal translations or just including ethnic diversity in the creative.

The best way to illustrate this point is how dollars are currently being spent by major ethnic/racial group in the United States:

  • Hispanic are 18% of the population, but only 3.6% of advertising dollars are allocated to
    reaching them.
  • Blacks are 13.4% of the population, but only 1.4% of advertising dollars are allocated to
    reaching them.
  • Asian are (5.8%) of the population, but only 0.1% of advertising dollars are allocated to
    reaching them.

Brands and clients need to also step up by challenging their general market agencies to go beyond simple translations of campaigns, to stop buying multicultural media like they buy general market media, and to either develop specialized capabilities in-house or partner with expert multicultural agencies.

There are two ways to make a meaningful, long-term impact and to put the advertising and marketing industry on the path to change.  As Steve Stoute wrote in AdWeek last year, fixing advertising’s diversity problem shouldn’t fall to minorities.

First, is to ensure we give opportunities and a voice to the approximately 25 percent of ethnic/racially diverse people already working in the industry, particularly those who work at general market agencies. Simply Google, “Being an ethnic minority at a predominantly White workplace,” and you’ll find many articles about how minorities often feel they can’t be themselves or are afraid to speak up for fear of being dismissed or not taken seriously.  Use their talents and their cultural knowledge to ensure campaigns are not simply translated, but “transcreated” to be culturally relevant.  But, come to them for input at the creative development stage, and not after creative has been completed to ask them, “what they think” or how they think the creative can be “more cultural.”  At that point, it’s too late.

Second, is we need to collectively make an effort to get more kids of diverse backgrounds interested in the advertising and marketing industry.  We need to support programs that are already exposing middle and high school kids to marketing, media, and related curriculums.  Offer financial support, offer to host them, to speak to their groups, develop a scholarship program, etc. At the university level, ensure that we are proactively considering diversity in our internship programs. 

This week, more than 600 Black professionals in advertising outlined 12 urgent action steps for ad agencies to take to end systemic racism affecting our industry.

It is not enough to just “listen” and simply put out images and messages of solidarity and inclusion. Now is the time for all of us to put our actions where our collective mouths are to bring about much needed change in our industry.

Coronavirus Pandemic Reveals Brands With Effective Hispanic Marketing

Which brands have an established Hispanic marketing capability is quickly becoming evident during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Never before have Spanish-speaking consumers depended as much on timely and trusted information than now, particularly information that can impact their health and lives.

As such, this pandemic has provided forward leaning brands, that already have Hispanic marketing integrated in their communication strategies, with an opportunity to demonstrate true leadership during a time of crisis.

One example is Hartford HealthCare, Connecticut’s most comprehensive healthcare network, which is constantly developing and releasing content in both English and Spanish about their efforts to curb and treat the virus as well as what people can do to protect themselves. They created a Spanish-language webpage, have Spanish-speaking medical experts available at their clinical command center, media trained their Spanish-speaking infection control doctor to conduct public relations outreach, and are printing bilingual signage and materials, among other actions.

To date, they are the only healthcare system in New England to be doing so, and one of the few hospitals or healthcare systems across the country to be demonstrating such leadership.

For those who have not, it’s not too late to begin.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t let being too busy be an excuse – while it will take some time to formulate a plan and create content, the upside to stepping up to the Hispanic market in this time is much greater. Hispanics are by far the fastest-growing market segment and will continue to be so.
  2. Don’t rely on translations by Spanish-speaking staff – culture plays an important role in health decisions made by Hispanic and content should be “transcreated” to ensure cultural relevance.
  3. Find credible experts in your company that speak Spanish and have them do outreach to the Spanish speaking media – often the Spanish-language media is more short-staffed than English media and are hungry for content and people to interview in Spanish
  4. Develop some Spanish-language social media posts to drive people to a Spanish landing page.  You don’t need to create a Spanish-language social network at this time, you can boost the posts and use language filters to effectively reach your Spanish-speaking consumers on social media.
  5. Hire a Hispanic marketing agency – most are ready and willing to help brands, especially when those brands are showing a genuine interest in helping Hispanics during a crisis.  Most are also small businesses, so it would be a help to them as well during an economically uncertain time.

Sunday’s Big Game, the Most Latino One Ever?

Although soccer is still king among Hispanics in the U.S. and worldwide, the other fútbol is the focus for many Hispanics with the upcoming Big Game.

Latino artists performing at halftime isn’t actually new. In fact, artists from Gloria Estefan, Bruno Mars (yes, he’s Latino) to Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera (yes, she’s Latina too) have graced the stage of the halftime show.

However, this is the first time in the 54-year history of the game that 2 Latinas will headline. Considering each singer has found extensive success in the U.S Latino and Latin American charts, it is safe to say there will be a diverse Latino audience tuning in.

Add to this the efforts made by the NFL and halftime show sponsor Pepsi to connect with Latinos (and the likelihood of other Latin artists joining them on stage), and the Latino influence in what’s been a more traditional U.S. mainstream event is easy to see.

None of this is completely surprising, however, when you consider that Latino culture is becoming more and more mainstream in many other areas.

Consider also that:
• Salsa outsells ketchup
• Tortillas outsell hot dog and hamburger buns
• The #1 downloaded song EVER on YouTube is “Despacito” (you know you all sang it once)

So, yes, Latino culture has long been influencing U.S. culture … and it is becoming the mainstream. So, whether you tune in to watch the actual game, or the halftime show, or the commercials (many of which will be targeted toward Latinos), enjoy it not with boring chicken wings and pizza. Instead, Latinize your experience with some empanadas and quesadillas. After all, what’s more American than tortillas?

Marketing Predictions for 2019: Are you ready for success?

Marketing in 2019 will see the continued rise of user-generated content over media or corporate content, Instagram expansion and larger investments in the Hispanic market, among other trends.


While some of these trends have been around for a while and are intensifying, others – like artificial intelligence and smart speakers – will intensify. Another, changes in influencer marketing, was signaled in a crisp Washington Post article at the start of 2018 bearing a subtitle of “Gritty blogs have given way to staged Instagram photos.” But there’s also a trend toward influencers who have smaller social media followings, if they are focused and active.


1) Artificial intelligence, virtual reality – AI and VR are making steady progress, although neither is where many expected them to be yet, and VR headsets are not taking off as once predicted. One of the newest developments is having android faces express greater emotion if robots are to interact with humans more effectively, according to Science Daily. Chatbots that respond to voice queries are more common.  Google Duplex, a version of Google Assistant that can conduct outbound calling, was announced in May. It’s a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks over the phone. The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments or reservations at a restaurant.

2) Smart Speakers – Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming more common in higher income or tech-savvy homes, with 28 million Amazon devices installed in in 2017. They represent one of the fastest growing areas of AI, and many predict this is Amazon’s big ace in the hole for technology in the future. But marketing or advertising on the devices is still an area of exploration. Amazon wants companies to advertise that consumers can shop using Alexa.  While that hasn’t happened yet, according to Recode, it is an area of interest for many marketers.


3) Quality Content — Changes by Google search engines mean its results are more geared toward the reputation of the content creator – such as the author of the article or landing page being rated, according to The SEM Post. This will put a greater emphasis on sites needing to have author information and author bios on their articles, especially for those sites that do not use bylines on their content when it isn’t clear on the site itself who authors the articles.

4) Hispanic Influence. There are signs that Hispanics are blending more than ever with the general American culture, while also becoming a greater influence on that culture. The 2018 Midterm elections gave a glimpse of how that influence continues to play out and suggests marketers can’t take Hispanic communities for granted. One quarter of Hispanic voters cast a ballot in a midterm for the first time in 2018, and the vast majority of Hispanics voted for Democrat candidates.  Politics aside, Hispanics continue to be the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and their economic power is continuing to also grow, making this segment a perfect growth opportunity for brands.


5) Instagram — Instagram dealt a blow to Snapchat with Stories. Now it’s challenging YouTube with the launch of its vertical video app, IGTV. As the company said in its announcements, people are watching less TV and more digital video. Younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals. Longer vertical video on Instagram makes it easier for businesses to get closer to their audience and be discovered by new people. The platform allows creation of a business account, where you can add pertinent business information like store hours, business address or a phone number.


6) Podcasts — Podcasts are back again. A Nielsen Fanlinks survey recently said that the number of self-identified “avid” podcast fans rose from 13 million homes in 2016 to 16 million in 2017 — up by 23 percent. Podcast revenues topped $314 million in 2017, an 86 percent increase from 2016, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau. It also said ads read by podcast hosts were cited as the preferred ad type, representing more than two-thirds of such ads in 2017. Direct response ads made up the majority of campaigns, followed by brand awareness ads (29 percent). In addition, ads integrated or edited into programming accounted for 58 percent of the podcast ad inventory in 2017.


Maybe this is the year you get ahead of these trends and put Hispanic marketing on the radar.




5 Reasons to Stop What you’re Doing and Book a Trip to St. Augustine NOW!

Whenever we think of the word ‘travel’, most people instantly picture themselves in cities like New York, California or Miami. People want to travel to escape the normal routine, eat good food, experience fun activities, learn a thing or two about a city, and not spend too much money while doing it. The problem when picking a place to travel, is that not every place is built the same way. Some cities have good food but there’s not too many activities to do. Other cities have great activities but do not provide the opportunity to unwind next to a beach. What if I told you there’s a city that you could do all these and MORE?

St. Augustine is known as Florida’s Historic Coast. That alone tells you that the city is filled with history, great views, and memories you will cherish for years to come. But that’s not all St. Augustine offers! These are the 5 things we learned from our visit, and why you need to visit NOW:

  1. Fun for the Whole Family: With attractions like Augustine’s Lighthouse, St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm Zoological Park, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park and  Fort Matanzas National Monument there’s something to do for everyone. St. Augustine offers a blend of one-of-a-kind adventures, nature and sightseeing tours, water expeditions, and history lessons packed in a fun experience. What’s not to love?

2. Food You Won’t Find Anywhere Else: There’s a lot of restaurants to chose from in St. Augustine but the most important fact to keep in mind is that most of them are locally owned. According to Grub Hub’s “Top 10 Restaurant” list in St. Augustine, this city delivers a rich and full experience to your palate thanks to a variate list that includes American, International, Local, and Hispanic cuisine. If you are a “Foodie”, you need to go visit St. Augustine if you want to live up to your self-proclaimed title.

  1. A Lovers’ Paradise: Augustine’s location provides couples with a getaway that’s filled with views and experiences to rekindle the love flame. The city has famously known attractions specifically designed for couples, like the Love Tree, The Tasting Tours and The Bin 39 Wine Bar. There’re also breathtaking views that you can appreciate from the balcony of your room or by walking through one of their famous beaches. As a couple, you might have other places labeled as your dream vacation but now you have to add this gem of a city to your list.
  1. History on Every Corner: Most people don’t know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. A trip to this city gives its visitors the opportunity to learn and explore their roots. With places to visit like The Oldest Wooden School House, Castillo de San Marcos and Father O’Reilly House Museum you are bound to experience history like no other place can offer.
  1. Experiences that Never Seem to End: St. Augustine has a lot of events to chose from but the most notable is The Nights of Lights. This event was on National Geographic’s Top 10 Places in the Worldto view holiday lights, and it extends from November all the way to February. Talk about a long Holiday celebration! More than simple events, St. Augustine offers experiences that are not easily forgotten by anyone and can be proudly included in any bucket list.

The hardest part of writing about St. Augustine is being able to narrow down the list of things we learned about our visit, and why you should go. St. Augustine offers an experience like no other and there are numerous things that you need to do when you visit. Florida’s Historic Coast gives its visitor a historic experience, vacation and memories.

Here are some of the photos we took during our trip:

By Agustin Sobrino-Figueroa – Brand Manager @ Camelo Communication

Here’s why a digital marketing strategy can’t ignore the growing Hispanic population

When it comes to marketing and advertising, budgets have been shifting toward digital platforms at the expense of traditional media outlets for many years now.
Whether targeting consumers through mobile devices, social media, paid search or other means, the Internet’s projected share of U.S. ad spending in 2018 is about 38 percent, according to AdAge.
In fact, U.S. internet ad spending passed TV in 2017, making internet the biggest ad medium, according to a report fromad agency Zenith. It forecasts media ad spending to grow 3.3 percent to $204 billion in 2018.
At the same time, One out of every two people added to the U.S. population in the last several years was Hispanic, and Hispanics account for more than $1.5 billion in purchasing power. The growth of the Hispanic population is still growing faster than other segments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Yet, there is still little evidence of the convergence between the increasing allocation of marketing dollars toward tapping into this growing and lucrative population.
Companies shifting advertising budgets toward digital marketing are wise to seek ways to ensure these two trends align.
Let’s begin with the fact that Hispanics are the most active group on social media, according to Pew.
About 72 percent of Hispanic have used at least one social media site, a rate higher than that of whites and blacks, which are at 68 and 69 percent, respectively.
Hispanics in the U.S. historically have less access to the Internet than other groups, according to eMarketer. But they were early adopters of smartphones; 67.1 percent of Hispanics were smartphone users in 2017, about the same as the U.S. population at large. About 23 percent of the Hispanic population in the U.S. use smartphones as their sole home broadband source versus 15 percent of blacks and 9 percent of whites, eMarketer said.
Nielsen published a new report in 2017 about Latin women and digital media, which said keeping in touch with family and friends, plus seeking and/or offering product advice to peers is very important to Latinas. In order to stay connected, their mobile devices are invariably in tow. Smartphones are the mobile device of choice for Hispanic women. Eighty-eight percent of Latinas say they own a smartphone, and they are 15% more likely than non-Hispanic white women to own such a device, according to the report titled Latina 2.0.
Over 65 percent of Hispanic adults are living in homes with no landline phone, compared to white and black adults, both of which were just over 50 percent.
Age might account for some of these digital trends — in Florida, for example, the average age for Hispanics is 34; it’s 49 for non-Hispanics — but it’s not the only reason.
How then can companies, especially those with smaller budgets, effectively target Hispanic consumers via digital advertising?
Here are some recommendations:
• Social Media — While Instagram has a higher percentage of Hispanics, look to Facebook as a primary social media platform. Facebook allows for targeting via specific demographical profiles and in Spanish, if that’s the preference, and great tracking.
• Pay Per Click — Bidding wars for ownership of specific keywords are not apparent in Spanish. Spanish keywords are available at a fraction of the cost of English keywords and with minimal or no competition.
• Good Content — When it comes to connecting credibly with Hispanics, look beyond language. Whether a message should be in English or Spanish is secondary to whether the message is culturally-relevant to the Hispanic market. Messages must resonate with Hispanic consumers, which is why translations don’t work even when grammatically correct. Spanish content does help tremendously, however, in establishing credibility with Hispanics and with Spanish-language search engine optimization.
• Mobile — Ensure your website is mobile responsive and Spanish-language content, again, will support Spanish-language mobile search engine strategies.
The most important recommendation, however, is to at least take the first step. Make 2018 the year you take Hispanic marketing off the back burner and begin a program.

Wilson Camelo is president and chief marketing officer of Camelo Communication, a marketing agency specializing in helping brands to connect with Hispanic and multicultural markets.

Hispanic Marketing, a diversity overview

Tacos or rice and beans? Understanding local flavor is crucial when marketing to diverse groups of Hispanics

A Connecticut social agency was on a mission to help Hispanics using food assistance programs to purchase more healthy foods to boost their family’s nutrition.

Normally such a job can be accomplished quickly with stock photos of kitchens, food and people eating. But when we looked for Hispanic or Spanish food and kitchens, we found a lot of tortillas, chili peppers, and fiesta-style gatherings.

Nothing wrong with that! Mexican food is popular everywhere, but in Connecticut, the population is primarily Puerto Ricans and the culture and food is vastly different than Mexican.

So, we reshot some photos, with a more Caribbean flavor — showing fruit, cilantro, rice and beans. It was yet another lesson in how diversity within the U.S. Hispanic population is important to understand, and how a specially tailored marketing message if often vital to a successful campaign.

Most Latinos in the U.S. are still of Mexican descent — still well over 60 percent — which is why  national marketing campaigns tend to skew Mexican. But, that can be a real problem if your goal is to connect with Hispanics outside of states like Texas and California, like in Florida or New York, for example. Both state’s Hispanic populations include large Cuban and Puerto Rican communities.

And, that is only the start of the diversity considerations among Hispanics that might need to be dealt with, depending on your goal.

Hispanic is an ethnicity and not a race, and they can be of any race. The majority of Hispanic people in the United States identify as white, according to 2016 Census data.

Next, about 14.5 million Hispanics in the U.S. identify as “some other race” while over one million identify as Black, and another half a million identify as American Indian or Native Alaskan.

If that’s not complicated enough, consider this: Approximately ten percent of the current Mexican-American population are descended from the early colonial settlers who became U.S. citizens in 1848 via the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican–American War.

Those origins are part of why Florida’s Hispanic population has significant differences from Texas. According to Pew, in Texas,  46% prefer the term Hispanic, while just
8% say they prefer the term Latino. But in Florida, 17% prefer “Latino.” Also, Spanish is spoken in different dialects in the U.S.
There are also big generational differences. Most Hispanics in the US are millennials or younger. But older immigrants are considered “traditionalists” who may not speak
fluent English.

Some Hispanic populations still tend to use of the more formal “usted” in many public situations, whereas younger Puerto Ricans often don’t require such formality, and they may respond better to the use of the word “tu” for you.
The website has a great illustration of language pitfalls, via the work for drinking straw. It seems almost every nation in Latin America has a different word for it.

A post on the website says: One night out, a girl from Colombia asked her new Puerto Rican friends for a pitillo for her soda. They were shocked; it turns out, pitillo is the word used in Colombia for drinking straw, but in Puerto Rico is a cigarette, often of marijuana.

As the website says, “Make a note to avoid an embarrassing moment. Such innocent words in one country can have more vulgar meanings in other countries.”
The examples of such diversity among Hispanics can go on and on, and people are often quite serious about their reactions. Ask Jennifer Lopez, the beloved Puerto Rican-American entertainer, about reaction she got when cast as Mexican-American icon Selena Quintanilla-Pérez; strong pushback eventually gave way to acclaim for the performance.

You may have heard of another famous example, regarding the Chevrolet Nova car being introduced into Mexico. For a while, there was a rumor that the car didn’t sell well at first and Chevy was forced to change its name from Nova — which if made into two words, “no va” means literally ‘doesn’t go.’ Although that story has been debunked as untrue (Chevy apparently did sell Novas successfully in Mexico and Venezuela using the name) it’s still an interesting illustration of how brands can mean other things in other cultures.

And even though we have used the words Hispanic or Latino in this article, one of the most interesting aspects of marketing to such groups is their preference to be addressed by their nation of origin, rather than the broader labels. Many have joked that they didn’t encounter either term much until they moved to the U.S.

At Camelo Communication, we have a diverse staff from different regions of Central and South America. Even among ourselves, we often ask each other: Would this make sense in your home? Would this be effective if your parents heard it?

Let our diverse group of Hispanic professionals help you to make your message as sharp and effective as possible.


How to grow your business with the lucrative Hispanic market

There is no secret the Hispanic market continues to grow both in population and in economic impact. With more than 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. and a purchasing power of nearly $2 trillion, the U.S. Hispanic market is a force to be reckoned with.

Yet, many companies and organizations are barely focused on the Hispanic market, and many still are yet to put it on the radar.

The time to begin or to get serious about the Hispanic market is now. Whites in the U.S. will be the minority by 2042. Minority births now outnumber White births.

The way to effectively connect with the Hispanic market is not via translations.  Hispanic culture plays a significant role in purchase and consumption decisions, and those insights must be part of marketing messages, advertising and outreach strategies to this important demographic.  Focusing on language via translations does not account for Hispanic cultural insights and while they may “reach” Hispanics, they will not “connect” with them.

The secret is transcreating your brand and messages.

We invite you to learn more about how to effectively market to and succeed in the Hispanic market at the upcoming Hispanic Marketing Forums in Tampa Sept. 11, Orlando Sept. 12 and Hartford, CT, Sept. 20.

You will learn best practices, and the tools, tips and techniques for success in the Hispanic market.  For brands that are yet to outreach to Hispanics or don’t know where to begin, the forum will cover how to be Latino market ready.

Join us.  To register, please visit