Monday, August 20, 2007

Essay 4349

One more noteworthy response to the Gary Bentz perspective from’s Small Agency Diary (see Essays 4343 and 4314)…


It is unfortunate that Mr. Bentz has a limited knowledge of both the extent and sophistication of our collective capabilities as “Hispanic shops.” I know that our agency is not alone in moving beyond our clients’ perceptions of segmentation, which often stops at language, gender and age groups. I know because I pitch against them. This expanding segment of agencies who understand that this market is as multifaceted as the so-called “general market” are successfully selling the concept that there are no monoliths in our culture, or any other.

Mr. Bentz perceives himself to be something that doesn’t exist, either from a cultural or a marketing perspective. Since the 1800’s, target marketers have been proving that there is no such thing as an “average American.” And neither is there, nor should there be, an “average Latino.” His opinion piece actually tries to make that point, but fails in that he falls into the “box” in which he accuses us of living.

This gentleman’s perspective may be shaped by ignorance of the innovative direction many Hispanic agencies are bringing to clients regarding more evolved concept of Hispanic customer relationship marketing. And his prior experience, which he’s used to tar us all with the same brush, may have required that he develop creative based on flawed strategy. Nonetheless, his own effort to rail against stereotypes rests on a major stereotype, contained in his description of that former experience. To quote his blog entry:

“It’s all cool to address us Latinos in our own language and it’s OK to make the images livelier with bright colors and big bold letters. I’m fine with bringing the family and the hot music to help connect. While this is the first instinctive approach to make sure everyone is on board with what must be in target, I dare to challenge those who think we Latinos live in that exclusive traditional box.”

Veiled as it may be, it is nonetheless an affront to many of us out here, developing groundbreaking, targeted, data-driven strategies and creative, not to mention the clients who relish our thought leadership. It turns out that Hispanic agencies, just like markets we serve, don’t constitute a monolith.

Beatriz Mallory
CEO & Chief Strategist
HispanAmérica, New York, NY

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