Miss Universe 2010 introduced a diversity of beautiful women from all over the world but of course I was cheering for Miss Puerto Rico, Mariana Vicente. Even though Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, won I was very happy that Mariana Vicente was in the top 10 but wait, was she really Puerto Rican? Was she really a Latina? I’m sure some these questions were in some people’s minds because of her blue eyes, blonde hair and light complexion she would be considered a Caucasian but in fact she was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mariana Vicente is an example of breaking the stereotype that all Latinos are assumed to have dark skin, brown eyes and dark hair when in fact there is so much ethnic diversity within Latin America and the Caribbean. A brief history about Spanish colonization and ethnic intermingling can in an early post.
I also believe popular media plays a part in stereotyping Latinos particularly in films and shows where we are illustrated in having heavy accents, similar physical characteristics and similar music. Also, popular media has given Latinos a negative perception that a majority of us work in custodial or food services when in fact Latinos are involved in many careers such as politics, medicine, education and many others. The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement reported that Hispanic professionals are highly educated, fully bilingual, in almost all cases legally authorized to work, and with a family structure similar to the non-Hispanic White population. In addition, Hispanic professionals have a more optimistic outlook on the economy than the overall population.
Can breaking the stereotype be accomplished in Hispanic marketing and online media? I always wondered if I was in a meeting, a creative director plans an Hispanic campaign the first thing he’ll say is “Ok, let’s have pictures of a family with tan skin and dark hair and put some Spanish words in it.” I think relying on just common sense and personal knowledge from what is absorbed through popular media should go out the door. Hispanic marketing requires in-depth research to find the right visual and textual message to convey to your target audience. Sending the wrong message could prove very costly. One of my posts, Hispanic marketing tip: Do Not Insult!, illustrates a case study where Burger King made that mistake in Mexico.
Hispanic marketing campaigns can be accomplished with people with both light and dark complexions, just negate the stereotype and focus more on consumer behavior and culture. Early case studies can also prove beneficial in the research stage, take advantage of the resources available to you and your Hispanic campaign will be a success. What other advice can you offer in breaking the Latino stereotype?
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