Selling Latino papers

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Reps’ message to marketers: We speak your language
CHICAGO ? At a time when it seems all things Latino are hot, hot, hot, Spanish-language papers are desperately trying to escape a marketing image that is more Rodney Dangerfield than Ricky Martin.
To the frustration of Hispanic publishers, advertising agencies often treat Spanish-language or bilingual newspapers as afterthoughts in their marketing plans.
“The way agencies look at Hispanic media is tv first, then radio, and then magazines. And newspapers are last,” says Lisa Skriloff, president of Multicultural Marketing Resources, a public-relations and marketing company.
That’s true even among many Hispanic-owned agencies, as was evident during the recent Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies semiannual meeting here.
“As you know, Hispanic print is not usually the first choice of agencies and advertisers,” Robert Armband, associate publisher of Chicago-based La Raza, tells approximately 120 ahaa members. He goes on to enumerate the advantages of the weekly: A paid circulation base of nearly 50,000; a total market coverage program that adds another 100,000 distribution; readers who say they spend two to three hours with the paper each week; and a study that puts readership at 400,000 and penetration at 60% of Hispanic households.
“Neither tv nor radio has the penetration of La Raza,” Armband says. “As surprising as it may seem to you, print does deliver in Chicago.”
A New York-based agency executive listens, but is not necessarily swayed.
“Unfortunately as we heard the guy from La Raza say, [newspapers] are not in front, they’re not top of mind,” Karen Treydle of Conill Advertising says later in a hallway. “We look at newspaper as a local, retail buy.”
Newspaper, she adds, has “the power of the printed word and newsworthiness, and that counts for something.” But the circulation and penetration numbers of Hispanic papers are not always reliable, says Treydle, whose main client is Toyota automobiles.
That was a common sentiment among ahaa meeting attendees, and a frustrating one for papers like La Raza, audited by Certified Audits of Circulation, and New York’s El Diario/La Prensa, audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
“Ad agencies have the tendency to pay more attention to the flamboyant and more entertaining media,” says El Diario national accounts manager German Cardenas. “And they’re in love with celebrities.”
Hispanic newspapers are jazzing themselves up. After years as an old gray lady, La Opini?n, the Los Angeles daily, now bursts with color. La Raza and its closest competitor, the Chicago Tribune-owned Exito, feature tabloid entertainment pullouts with extensive coverage of the Latino entertainment world.
“We’re making more of a commitment than ever to entertainment,” El Diario’s Cardenas says. “The paper is evolving.”
Newspaper has at least two big advantages over broadcast in the Hispanic market, Cardenas and others say: the credibility of print and the ability to appeal to all segments of the Hispanic market.
Viewers sometimes criticize Spanish-language networks for being “too Cuban” or “too Mexican.” Radio music formats turn off some nationalities even as they appeal to others.
“The paper enjoys not having that problem,” Cardenas says.
Because of the growth of the Hispanic population ? and the increasing interest advertisers have in it ? Hispanic papers are getting more and more ad dollars.
“But we’re here,” Cardenas says, “to make the agencies a little more conscious of the value of what we offer.”
(Editor & Publisher [Caption]
(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 11, 1999) [Caption]

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