Ethnic Groups Don’t See Themselves in Advertising, Digital Content

Creative that appeals to race, background is key to engagement

Brands that want to reach ethnic minorities online are not doing a very good job, according to some research. An April 2011 survey by Yahoo!, Mindshare and Added Value found that according to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans, digital advertising does not engage them. When asked for three brands doing a good job reaching them, most said they couldn’t name even one.

One big reason was that respondents felt their ethnic groups were poorly represented in messaging. Some 78% of blacks, 74% of Hispanics and 72% of Asians surveyed agreed that diversity in ads is the best reflection of the real world. And nearly as many in each group said ads should show more of that diversity.

Diversity in appearance in ads is important, but it’s not enough. “One thing we heard is not to just take an ad that has white people in it and replace them with an Asian family,” said Lauren Weinberg, vice president of strategic insights and research at Yahoo!, whose group conducted the study.

“They said brands are picking people who may look like me, but they are not speaking to concepts that are relatable to me,” Weinberg explained in an interview with eMarketer. Respondents said they would prefer to see “someone who is not famous but who is authentic” as a spokesperson for a brand, not just “white-washed celebrities.”

One way to be authentic is to reflect consumers’ core values and interests. The study found particular cultural “drivers” important to ethnic groups. For about half of blacks surveyed, music and beauty were significant. For Hispanics, a big driver was food and recipes, and for Asian-Americans, restaurants that reflect their tastes were key.

Preferred Types of Digital Content According to US Internet Users, by Race/Ethnicity, April 2011 (% of respondents in each group)

Hispanic respondents, for example, pointed out that an ad with a Hispanic family sitting down and enjoying a meal together shows that the brand knows what is important to that group, Weinberg explained.

Black respondents indicated that they would like an ad for a beauty product directed specifically to them, showing actors that look like them, listening to music that would appeal to them.

Why have marketers been slow to understand the importance of ethnic authenticity? Weinberg said that brands do understand the importance of multicultural advertising, but “one of the fears is that if you make a misstep in this area, the backlash is really negative.”

But, she added, “I think we will see a lot more multicultural marketing in the coming years. Brands want to get it right.”

Courtesy of eMarketer

Win With Ethnic Consumers: That’s the Rallying Cry at ANA Conference

It’s amazing to hear C-level executives –- from Pepsico to Home Depot, Miller Coors and Walmart — tell the crowd of over 700 people that marketing to ethnic consumers has become a business imperative for their corporations, and that the only way they are going to achieve their numbers in these tough economic times is by focusing on Latinos, African-Americans and Asians.

After two full days of presentations, for me the key takeaway boiled down to a realization that I think may help you demystify this thing called multicultural marketing: Think of it as global marketing, but focused on one country.

Read the entire article at Ad Age.

Kmart’s Holiday Approach to Ethnic Markets

Kmart LogoThe first clue that something needed to change was the shopping carts. Or, more specifically, what was in them. Hispanic customers were snapping up styles from Jaclyn Smith, a Kmart designer meant to target the general market.

“Jaclyn Smith was selling to Hispanics and Jaclyn isn’t centered in the popular culture of the Hispanic market,” said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer at Kmart. “We had a lot of diverse ethnicity on the floor, and a lot of cross shopping between products and segments.”

Armed with that knowledge, Mr. Snyder began analyzing how the retailer was marketing to ethnic consumers. Kmart was, it turned out, presenting separate creative briefs to its agency as well as referring to the groups as completely separate segments internally. For its agency, that meant receiving a brief for the general market, one for the Hispanic market, one for the African-American market, and so on. (more…)

Ethnic insights form foundations of McDonald’s marketing

The marketing at McDonald’s is informed first and foremost by ethnic insights that shape the chain’s marketing to African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Then McDonald’s lays those insights over work for the general market.

“Ethnic segments are leading lifestyle trends,” Neil Golden, chief marketer officer of McDonald’s USA, told the ANA assembly. He added that his team decided to “start with the ones who are setting the pace.”

They’re also where a lot of the money is. Mr. Golden said 40% of McDonald’s current U.S. business comes from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American markets, and 50% of consumers under the age of 13 are from those segments. “And they’re among our most loyal users,” Mr. Golden said.  To read the full story click here.