Hispanic Marketing: Pay attention to the words
Marketing to Hispanics has in the last 20 years become a real focus for companies. Unfortunately the focus has been very unfocused. If your reaction is "huh" then read on.
Marketers and businesses have acknowledged that the Hispanic Market is growing in size and purchasing power. Their strategy has been generally to translate there slogans and advertisements into Spanish and then running them in Spanish language newspapers, periodicals, and TV.
This poorly thought-through strategy has resulted in some notable failures and embarrassing situations. There have been some high profile blunders such as the often cited example from Chevrolet Cars, the Chevy Nova. The word nova when said as two words in Spanish (no va) translates to no go or doesn't go. Not too appealing a feature for a car. Another one is the toothpaste Colgate. Again when pronounced in Spanish it means 'hang yourself'. Come on marketers! Did you not have an extra couple of dollars in your budget to ask for a simple review? Another controversial and little know example is the company (can't disclose for legal reasons as I was in the know) that spent millions of dollars on an advertising campaign that of all things included the word embarrassing. When the word embarrassing was converted (not translated) to Spanish the word 'embarazada' was used. Kind of sounds the same wouldn't you agree. However the meaning of 'embarazada' is pregnant. Now how embarrassing is that?
Marketers and business people in addition to a simple review of the translation, you need to do research. Do you know that some words in one Spanish speaking country may have a negative or vulgar meaning or no meaning at all in another Spanish speaking country? Want to waste your money and time? Then launch a product or service into Latin America without doing your research and without taking into account the differences amongst Spanish speaking countries.
This is part of a series of posts on Marketing to Hispanics so come back soon or subscribe.