Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

img_2183.jpg“Spanglish” is no longer just an Adam Sandler movie or increasingly legitimate language in the United States. Spanish-language television giant Telemundo is creating a lot of buzz in the entertainment industry because it recently introduced a talk show that blends Spanish and English in a way that is familiar to audiences.

“Más Vale Tarde” (Better Late) is the name of the show, and it’s going where no program has gone before.

Although it has been the butt of many a joke by those who don’t understand its significance, “Spanglish” is a reflection of the bicultural nature of many parts of the country. Nobody knows this better than the Latino media, and now they are presenting material that crosses the language border and makes content a little more accessible where programming is usually Spanish- or English-only.

It seems that the experiment is paying off, as viewership has reached nearly 200,ooo in the 18 – 49-year-old demographic. It airs at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, but the network is looking to change that before the end of the year.

What public relations practitioners can learn from the success of this program is pretty significant: Spanish and English can work together to craft relevant messages. Creating a PSA featuring a spokesperson who uses “Spanglish” could be a great tactic with a broader range than traditional single-language materials. However, knowing when and how to use “Spanglish” is a skill that should not be ignored. If the tactic isn’t used properly, how can it be effective?

I have seen the show and really enjoyed it. I speak English and Spanish and, although I didn’t grow up in a bilingual household, I have a lot of friends who did, and I know the relevance of “Spanglish” within Hispanic families and communities.

This information is based on a recent New York Times article. If you’re interested in checking out “Más Vale Tarde” for yourself, reruns are available here.


img_2235.jpgIn case you’ve been living on a deserted island and had no access to media of any kind, 2008 is an election year. In fact, it’s shaping up to be one of the most important elections in national history, with a Black man and a woman coming out as the early favorites for the Democratic party.

But what would an election year be without the darlings of pundits across the country: wedge issues. An issue is by definition controversial, and a wedge issue takes it to the next level. They are so polemic that they are able to mobilize thousands (even millions) of voters who otherwise might be disengaged from the political process. However, wedge issues tend to be an example of trendy politics that often lose momentum after a campaign season.

This year, one of the huge issues being addressed by all of the candidates is immigration. According to a piece on the New York Times blog, roughly 30 percent of Democrats in California who participated in the Super Tuesday primary there identified themselves as Latino. Although Latinos are not the only voters who care about immigration, their votes could sway the election in many states where they represent a large voting bloc, such as Texas, California and Florida.

The article goes on to state, however, that in many of yesterday’s primaries, when exit polls about important issues were conducted, Democrats were not given immigration as an option. Republicans were. Is this an issue that only Republicans care about, even though a larger percentage of Latino voters identify as Democrats?

Reaching out to Latino voters is becoming more important because of the implied connection to immigration – thus solidifying its status as a wedge issue.

What’s important for the candidates to realize is that true commitment to the Latino constituency goes beyond the immigration debate and requires an understanding of the community. Research is the first step in any successful campaign, and this is a time when comprehensive primary methods should be used for the benefit of all involved.

Freedom As my first official blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to draw from the source of this page’s name: Late last year there was a New York Times Magazine article called “How Do You Say ‘Got Milk’ en Español?” in which the rise of agencies specifically marketing to the growing U.S. Latino community was examined.

According to the article, the Latino consumer can be put into one of three categories: learner, straddler and navigator. These classifications refer to the preferred language of the consumer (Spanish or English), age and level of education, among other characteristics. These classifications say a lot about the consumers, but also comment on the changing nature of communications in the U.S. and how a bilingual approach can be more effective than traditional English language-only campaigns.

The following may come as a shock, but in the U.S. there is no official language. And although English has become the dominant language for the majority of the country, there is a demonstrated need for Spanish-language services in many areas. In Los Angeles, for example, in 2000 46.5 percent of the population was Hispanic, compared to 29.75 percent Caucasian (ERsys).

But what does this have to do with public relations?

Although the article primarily focuses on the use of understanding the stratification of the Latino population as it relates to advertising, there are significant implications for public relations as well, especially if it is part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The important thing to take away is that there is no one Latino consumer; however, there is a clear need to address these consumers in language they can understand, which is often not English.

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng