Two different traditional drinks and cultures, the Coffee picker in Colombia and the Argentinian Mate drinker.
The nationalities, languages, religions, and traditional practices represented in Latino communities are varied. It is crucial to comprehend the distinctive differences that exist within the Latino community as advertisers target these groups more and more. Failure to do so could result in ineffective or even offensive marketing efforts. We examine some cultural distinctions among Latinos in this article that marketers should be conscious of.
Language: While many Latinos in the United States speak Spanish, not all do. In fact, according to a Pew Research study, 71% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. are proficient in English. Marketers need to be mindful of the language preferences of their target audience, and ensure that messaging is appropriately translated or adapted.
Family and Community: Family and community are highly valued in many Latino cultures. Marketers should recognize that family dynamics and traditions can influence purchasing behavior. For example, Hispanic families tend to buy in bulk to share with extended family members or use in community events.
Religion: Religious beliefs can also influence consumer behavior. In many Latino cultures, religious holidays and traditions are significant events, and marketers can capitalize on these by offering targeted promotions and messaging.
Food and Drink: Food and drink play a central role in Latino culture. From regional cuisines to traditional beverages, marketers need to be aware of the role that food and drink can play in their campaigns. A study by Mintel found that 43% of Hispanics are more likely to purchase a product that aligns with their cultural traditions and values.
Some examples of cultural differences within Latinos that marketers should be aware of:
Gender Roles: In many Latin American cultures, traditional gender roles are still prominent. For example, women may be responsible for cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children, while men are expected to provide financially for the family. Marketers should avoid reinforcing these stereotypes and instead promote messages of equality and empowerment for all genders.
Time Orientation: Time is perceived differently in different cultures, and Latinos are no exception. In some Latino cultures, punctuality may not be as highly valued as it is in Western cultures. For example, it may be acceptable to arrive at a party or event an hour or two later than the stated start time. Marketers should be aware of these cultural differences and adjust their messaging and campaigns accordingly.
In 2013, McDonald’s launched a marketing campaign targeting Hispanics with the tagline “Me Encanta” (“I’m Lovin’ It” in Spanish). The campaign received backlash from some Latino advocacy groups, who criticized McDonald’s for portraying Latino customers as stereotypical, including depicting a woman dancing in a peasant skirt and a man playing a guitar. The campaign was ultimately pulled.
In 2019, Ancestry.com released a commercial titled “The Colonizers,” which depicted a romance between a white settler and a Native American woman. The commercial was criticized for its cultural insensitivity and the erasure of Native American history. Ancestry.com issued an apology and pulled the ad.
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“Language Use Among Hispanics in the United States,” Pew Research Center, 2015.
“Marketing to Hispanics,” Mintel, 2018.