Non-Latinos Turned Off by Ads Targeting English-Speaking Latinos


Singer Mark Antony in an English-language ad aimed at Latinos on behalf of President Barack Obama
Advertisers may want to reach English-speaking Latinos but non-Latinos may get turned off by those advertisements. It’s a conundrum for marketers.
That’s according to a Huffington Post Latino column by Cristina Constantini. She reported, “Black and white test subjects showed decreased support for a candidate after watching an English-language advertisement that features a Latino endorser, according to Ricardo Ramirez, a Notre Dame professor who was part of the team that conducted the study.
“The same occurred when black and white subjects watched an advertisement with a non-Latino endorser who used Spanish phrases, Ramirez said. The experiment, which surveyed over 4,500 Los Angeles residents, was conducted during the 2008 race between Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and the academic paper will be published in coming months,” she added.
Ramirez told the Los Angeles Times, “We know that appearing more inclusive by outreaching toward Latinos seems to work well for immigrants, but it seems to have a negative impact on blacks and whites.”
In that same article, it was pointed out that the Mitt Romney campaign ran ads with shaky translations from English to Spanish. “Día Uno” talks about what the first day of a Romney presidency would look like, outlining objectives such as opening the Keystone oil pipeline and ending the healthcare law. “Van Bien?” picks up on a President Obama comment that the private sector is “doing fine,” and asks how the president can fix the economy if he doesn’t understand it.
What’s more, some of the phrases in those ads are awkwardly translated, said Melisa Diaz, a Latino media consultant based inWashington, D.C., who has worked for the Democratic National Committee.
“Doing Fine?” would be more accurately translated as “Las cosas están bien?” Diaz said, while the proper phrase to convey “the right direction” would be “la dirección correcta,” not “la buena dirección,” as used in the ads. And the English idiom “Day One” would be better if phrased “El Primer Día,” not “Día Uno,” Diaz said.
“These kind of mistakes would not happen in an English-language ad,” she said. “You can tell that the ads were not proofed by a native speaker.”