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Simmons Hispanic Study: Spanish-Speakers Prefer TV Ads In - What Else - Spanish

Marketers keen to lure viewers not yet jaded by television advertising should set their sights on the Spanish-language audience--who are not only more receptive to TV commercials than the rest of the population, but also have a more positive overall impression of advertising.

That was among the major findings of a study recently unveiled by Simmons Market Research Bureau. The data was culled from the Fall 2003 Simmons National Consumer Survey, which was expanded to collect more and better information about U.S. Hispanics.

According to the study, Hispanic Spanish-language viewers are 37 percent less likely than non-Hispanic English-language viewers to say they don't like advertising, and 26 percent less likely to say they find advertising to be "a waste of time." Hispanic Spanish-language viewers are also less likely to view TV advertising as an annoyance (36 percent), and more likely to find it interesting and valuable (30 percent).

Those Spanish-language viewers also view advertising more favorably than Hispanic English-only viewers, according to the study. They are 15 percent less likely to avoid watching commercials, 19 percent more likely to remember advertised products while shopping, and 15 percent more likely to say that advertising impacts product purchases for their children.

Simmons Hispanic Brand Manager Lupe Sierra attributed the results in part to the fact that Spanish-speaking Hispanics haven't been exposed to as much advertising as English-language viewers. "There are fewer media vehicles available," she notes. "If they want to watch TV in Spanish, there's only so many choices." The same trend holds in media such as magazines and radio, she added.

As a result, Hispanics Spanish-language viewers aren't yet cynical and distrustful of TV ads. In fact, Sierra believes that their relative receptivity to marketing is perhaps the study's most important finding. "There's a general understanding that most people are annoyed [by TV advertising], but [Hispanics] are still very open to it," she says. "There's still a window of opportunity for advertisers. There are still people out there in TV land who have positive feelings."

Given the purchasing power of Hispanic Americans--$650 billion per year and growing--these feelings could translate into big returns for marketers.

When asked why the marketing community has been slow to develop such information on the Hispanic market, Sierra says that it wasn't until the 2000 Census (which evinced the market's exponential growth) that companies realized what they were missing. "In a way, it was a chicken-or-the-egg thing. They wouldn't invest more dollars until [Spanish-language media] could prove ROI, but the media couldn't afford to develop the tools to measure ROI without those dollars," she explains.

As to what TV buyers should take away from the study, Sierra affirms the obvious: "This audience provides such an added dimension. Not only can you deliver a message in a language that's going to be most effective, but you can deliver that message to a group that is receptive to what you have to say. There's not many groups like that left."

For the National Consumer Research survey, Simmons conducted 25,398 interviews with English- and Spanish-speaking Americans, including 8,221 Hispanics.


Larry Dobrow, MediaDailyNews. May 4, 2004.

Copyright © 2004 MediaPost Communications. All rights reserved.