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Connecting To Latinx Audiences With Connected TV

Everyone knows the stats by now: Millennials were the most diverse generation America had seen, with more than 20% of its members identifying as Hispanic or Latinx. Gen Z will top Millennials. And by 2060, 119 million Americans will be Hispanic or Latinx—just under 30% of the population.

Hispanic and Latinx consumers currently have $1.5 trillion—yes, trillion—in buying power. And they are still watching TV. They’re just increasingly turning to OTT: 38% of Millennial Latinx viewers sit down in front of the TV and navigate immediately to Netflix, according to a Horowitz Research survey.

Advertisers will spend nearly $9 billion on OTT and connected TV ads in 2020. If they’re smart, they’ll start paying more attention to what this audience wants.

What Does This Audience Want?

Honestly? They want what every other audience wants: authenticity. It’s just that their authenticity has been largely denied by popular culture in the past, and the question of how to be authentic while selling a product is just as complex for Latinx audiences as it is for a more general audience.

In other words: Connecting with Latinx audiences takes more effort than just translating your ad into Spanish.

“Language is a tactic, not a strategy,” Parker Morse, CEO of H Code, told Campaign Live. He’s right: While language and culture are closely intertwined, Latinx culture is not simply Spanish-speaking culture.

Latinx Millennials and Gen Zers, in particular, tend to be bilingual, or may not even speak Spanish in the home. Spanish is part of their lives, but may not be what defines their Latin-ness.

However, they do still want to see their experiences reflected onscreen.

Who’s Doing It Right?

Viacom is certainly making strides in the right direction. Viacom’s Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported OTT network that has more than 100 live channels chock-full of content. In July, Viacom launched Pluto TV Latino, 11 channels of Latinx content. And in October 2019, Viacom added 11 new channels to Pluto TV Latino, bolstering its content hours to 4,000, including runs of The Walking Dead and the James Bond films.

Pluto TV Latino features a nearly dizzying array of programming, from Argentinian and Columbian telenovelas, to classic Paramount films, to Mexican Lucha Libre and even Portuguese-language content. It’s exactly the kind of content mix that Latinx audiences have been looking for, no pandering required.

“This hits upon three different groups within the Hispanic community; third generation bilingual, acculturated, and non-acculturated,” said Sean Moran, Head of Viacom Ad Solutions.

Moran went on to explain that the non-acculturated group refers to people that are more comfortable with Spanish-speaking programmings, such as telenovelas, which provide a little bit of a tie into the content from their countries of origin. The acculturated segment refers to people that were born in the U.S. that grew up in a predominantly English speaking household but still have a tie to their ancestral homes and how their parents grew up. The bilingual programs help viewers digest some content in Spanish and some in English.  

“[Authenticity] is about evolving the storytelling,” Viacom Ad Solutions vice president Victor Caro told a Viacom AdSolutions Rethink panel this November. “It all starts with the creators and being able to find people who come from our community and speak our diverse voice.”

PepsiCo senior director of marketing Esperanza Teasdale said at that same Viacom panel: “It can be very efficient when you think about your marketing expand. It’s tailored; there are a lot of services and engines that can customize creative in any way, which could be very useful when you’re trying to reach Latino folks in Miami, as opposed to L.A.”

This differentiation is key. Not all Latinx populations are the same. What feels authentic to someone of Mexican descent in Chicago may not feel authentic to a Puerto Rican in New York.

While this presents a large problem for a national TV ad buy, with connected TV, you can not only develop specific creative for these two different audiences — and many others — but deliver them only to the people for which they’re meant.

Couple that targeting ability with a rich environment like Pluto TV Latino, and you’ve got a slam dunk waiting to happen.