Spanish for Professional Purposes...

...for teachers and students who see the need for Spanish language and Hispanic cultures knowledge in professional contexts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bilingual and Bicultural Ads Are Much More than Translations

An earlier post asserted that knowing how to conduct business in Spanish as well as English can give you access to a huge market segment in the US and abroad.

This week students in Spanish for the Professions looked at an even more nuanced aspect of bilingualism: accessing the huge segment of the population that is bilingual and bicultural.  The task: find bilingual and bicultural advertisements aimed at Spanish-English bilinguals in the US.

We start with the example of the "Got milk?" ad that features the Mexican legend of La llorona.  In order to really appreciate the ad:

  • you need to know the legend of La llorona (straight out of Mexican culture)
  • you need to be familiar with the Got milk? campaign (straight out of US culture)
  • you have to recognize the Spanish language on the cover of the book "La leyenda de la llorona" and understand the ghost saying "leche!"
  • you have to understand the English on the milk carton ("Milk") and the ubiquitous "Got milk?" black-and-white text.

From that starting point, students have found many wonderful bilingual and bicultural advertisements for everything from Hot Pockets to cars.  Many of the best ads can be traced back to one Miami-based agency, Zubi.  Their Chase Bank ad is an excellent example of gaining a competitive advantage by filling a previously unmet need--in this case, Spanish-language statements.  Ford is a long-time client of Zubi and the "Ready Pa' Tu Mundo" campaign targets a fully bilingual, bicultural, tech-savvy youth culture.

The ReachHispanic blog has recently praised Zubi and offered advice on successful (and accurate!) marketing to Latinos in the US.

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