¿Estamos hablando el mismo idioma?

by Carolina Beltrán, Digital Media Supervisor

Over the weekend, I was watching the Confederations Cup final on Univisión, the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States. As a matter of fact, Univisión dominates the Hispanic media landscape, coming in fourth place with adults in the 18- to 49-year old demographic during February 2013 television sweeps; NBC finished fifth (source: The New York Times).

I could have watched the Brazil vs. Spain final in English on ESPN, but the commentators are way more passionate on Univisión. I’m also an out-of-practice native speaker, so watching the game in Spanish on Univisión helps me. Wins all around.

So imagine my surprise when I hear a full :30 advertising spot in all English. This wasn’t a Spanish commercial sprinkled with English. We’re talking all English. Say what? How does this happen? It can’t be a mistake – you don’t get a :30 spot during one of the biggest soccer games of the year on the largest Spanish language network in the United States by accident.

Annoyed, I tweeted Univisión the following:

To be fair, I wasn’t really annoyed with Univisión. I was sad for the advertiser. They spent all that money to get it so wrong. One of my Twitter followers tweeted me “probably no budget to do 2 versions.” Perhaps, but still not a good reason.

If you want to spend a million dollars on a network, trust me, the network will take it, but don’t you want your advertising to be effective?

I applaud advertisers that want to break into foreign markets through any medium, whether TV, radio, print or online, but you have to do it the right way, otherwise, it’s money wasted. When our clients ask us to develop ad copy in Spanish, the first question we ask is “do you have a Spanish version of your site?”. If yes, we move forward. If not, we don’t move forward and I explain that if your intended target reads copy in their native language and clicks over to a website in a different language, they’re outta there. You don’t get any interaction or sale from that click and what’s worse, you get an annoyed visitor with a not-so-positive opinion of your brand. It’s the same with the TV. It might actually be worse – you’ve come to their turf to advertise in your language. Yikes.

If you’re looking to break into a foreign language market online, let’s talk. Online is the perfect place to start; we’re committed to helping you effectively target your audience and efficiently use your ad dollars.


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