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.