Este gallo cantara para todos

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Oct 28 19:14:10 UTC 2002

New York Times, October 28, 2002

		Latinos Are Focus of New Brand of Ads


      WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 Commercial breaks during "Despierta America," a
wacky, popular morning show on Spanish-language television, are usually
full of pitches for American products, everything from coffee to
detergent. Now, a new brand name has made a frequent appearance: the
American politician. Recognizing the growing power of the Hispanic
electorate, candidates in the nation's largest states are spending record
sums for political commercials that speak directly to Spanish speakers.
They are running the commercials earlier than before and using more
sophisticated methods to reach Hispanics.

Rather than simply translate scripts from English to Spanish, candidates
in Florida, New York, California and Texas have tailored their messages by
injecting cultural touchstones, music, celebrities and messages that
resonate with Hispanics. The commercials run mostly on the two largest
Spanish-language networks, Univision and Telemundo. "You are talking about
a sea change in terms of political advertising,"  said Sergio Bendixon,
president of Bendixon & Associates, a public opinion research company that
specializes in the Hispanic market. "They have gotten much better at it."

A new report by Adam Segal, editor of The Johns Hopkins Journal of
American Politics, said political candidates running for governor, the
House and the Senate had spent at least $8 million on more than 12,000
advertisements in Spanish in the 2002 campaign, setting records for a
nonpresidential election year. The largest spenders are candidates in New
York, Texas, California and Florida, states with sizable Hispanic
populations. But even smaller states like Colorado and New Mexico are
seeing an increase in the number of commercials in Spanish. In New York,
Tom Golisano, the Independence Party candidate for governor, has spent
more than $1.3 million on two television commercials in Spanish. Gov.
George E. Pataki, a Republican, has spent at least $775,000 on Spanish
advertisements, some of which feature him speaking Spanish. Carl McCall,
the Democratic challenger, has spent $930,000 on Spanish advertisements.

In Texas, Tony Sanchez, a wealthy Democratic businessman who speaks fluent
Spanish and is running for governor, has spent $1.4 million on
advertisements in Spanish that have been widely praised for their appeal
to the Tex-Mex population in his home state. The advertisements started
running in January. Gov. Rick Perry has spent more than half a million
dollars. Gov. Jeb Bush and the Republican Party have doled out $1.3
million to run hundreds of commercials in Spanish in South and Central
Florida. Bill McBride, his opponent, went on the air with his first
commercial last week.

Senate candidates in Colorado, where the two contenders are in a dead
heat, and New Mexico are also making a concerted effort to connect to
Hispanic voters through paid television commercials. All of this attention
and money points to the importance of the Hispanic vote in certain crucial
states. Recent research has shown that while Hispanics side mostly with
Democrats, they are not as partisan as other voters and share some
Republican values and philosophies.

"In this country, you can mostly identify your Republican voters and
Democratic voters and independent voters," said Frank Guerra of Guerra
DeBerry & Coody, the San Antonio advertising agency that has created
commercials for Mr. Perry in Texas and Mr. Bush in Florida. "There is not
a lot of open room there. But here is a segment of people, the fastest
growing, the largest minority group in America, and fully 25 percent can
go in either direction." The move into Spanish-language television by
politicians was also fueled by two other factors: In the last decade,
Spanish-language television networks boomed and Hispanics, many of them
newer immigrants, increasingly turned to those networks for news and

For politicians, it was a slow dawning. In the past, most candidates
slapped together advertisements at the end of a campaign, paying little
attention to quality or relevance. But in a telling shift this year,
candidates have grown more sophisticated in creating their advertisements
and are using media consultants who specialize in commercials geared to
Hispanics. The advertisements are notably different from their English
counterparts.  Univision viewers find the kind of positive, upbeat
commercial that English-speaking viewers pine to see. Negative
advertisements, which consultants say are needlessly aggressive and turn
off Hispanics, are almost nonexistent.

The commercials are knowledgeable of Hispanics in other ways, too. "The
Anglo-Saxon culture is more about give me the facts, convince me, be
superrational with me," Mr. Bendixon said. "In Hispanic culture, it's love
me first and I'll vote for you." "The emotional personal connections are
so important," he added. Mr. Sanchez, a seventh-generation Texan whose
ancestors hail from Mexico, understood that from the start. To introduce
himself to voters in English, he used a strait-laced commercial that was
much drier and detailed.

The Spanish version had Mr. Sanchez hugging and kissing the people around
him as Tejano music played. In this advertisement and others, he speaks
using Tex-Mex colloquial phrases, like "Este gallo cantara para todos,"
which translates roughly into "This rooster will fight for everybody." The
advertisement feels more like a party than a dissertation. Spanish
advertisements focus more on family, education and employment, and they
feature Hispanics and the candidates speaking in Spanish. In Florida,
where Mr. Bush is trying to reach out to a wide variety of Hispanics, his
campaign's first advertisement featured flags from different
Spanish-speaking countries, each one morphing into the next. The
commercial comes back to the idea of Florida and Mr. Bush's role in
shaping the state. A narrator says, "Nosotros encontramos en esta tierra
oportunidad," which means, "We find opportunity in this land."

"Hispanics in Florida are very happy to call Florida home, but they are
also very proud of their national origin," Mr. Guerra said about the flag
advertisement he created. "We tailored the message to the pride that we
feel, but the fact we now call Florida home." All of Mr. Bush's
advertisements have him speaking almost impeccable Spanish. His wife is
Mexican and he has lived in South Florida for years. Mr. Golisano's
biographical advertisement prominently features his up-by-the-bootstraps
success story and his immigrant roots his father emigrated from Italy and
worked in a coal furnace. A billionaire, Mr. Golisano is the founder of a
company called Paychex. His English commercials do not talk as much about
his entrepreneurship.

Erick Mullen, Mr. Golisano's media strategist, said the commercials had
been particularly effective. One poll had Mr. Golisano's popularity
jumping from 9 percent to 35 percent among Hispanic-Americans after the
advertisements were broadcast. The best commercials, Mr. Bendixon said,
keep the facts simple and straightforward. "This immigrant Hispanic
electorate by definition is low on the socioeconomic scale," he said.
"They are new immigrants maids, janitors, parking attendants, busboys.
Most don't have a high school diploma. Don't tell them about the
difference between my focus for financing Social Security and the other

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