Execs talk Power of the Purse in Gotham

NBCUniversal is amping up its efforts to court Hispanic auds across its networks and theme park properties.

At Tuesday’s Power of the Purse breakfast in Gotham, NBCUniversal’s Lauren Zalaznick outlined a marketing initiative christened Hispanics@NBCU. News follows a similar announcement on Monday from Fox with the launch of Fox Hispanic Media, and the confirmation from NBCU parent Comcast that it will launch three minority-owned and operated cable channels by early 2013.

Zalaznick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment and Digital Networks and Integrated Media, observed that advertisers had much to look forward to in taking a more sophisticated approach to marketing to minority viewers.

Hispanics, she said, play more games, access the Web, and use smartphones more frequently than their Anglo counterparts. NBCU is poised to capitalize on the growth in the U.S. Hispanic population — which soared 43% during the last decade to more than 50 million, according to the U.S. Census report — through its Spanish-lingo broadcast net Telemundo and its cable counterpart, Mun 2.

To that end, NBCU has commissioned studies including “Beyond Demographics: Latino Identity Study,” which examines the consumer behavior of the Latino market generally; and “Gen YLA (Young Latino Americans),” looking at self-identification, language, and tech and media patterns among U.S. Hispanics in the 18-34 demo.

The breakfast, titled “The New Majority: Marketing to a Multicultural Female Marketplace,” wasn’t focused solely on the Hispanic market. Keynote speaker Iman discussed the ways in which women of color were underserved in the cosmetics industry when she began her modeling career, making it possible for her to enter the makeup market as a businesswoman.

“I changed my reading overnight from Vogue to the Census Bureau,” she said.

Iman told advertisers and press that a big-tent approach to marketing was key: “Nobody goes to a department store and says, ‘Show me the ethnic aisle for shoes,’ ” she said.In the panel discussion that followed, Antonio Ruiz, chief strategic officer of marketing shingle Vidal Partnership, noted that the statistics putting Hispanics at 15% of the population were potentially misleading.

“In terms of consumer packaged goods, Hispanics could be 65% of category consumption,” Ruiz said.

Jacqueline Hernandez, Telemundo chief operating officer, noted that 62% of U.S. Hispanics are born in this country, and that advertising imported from South America was not necessarily going to be effective with them.

In closing, Zalaznick made mention of the sartorial diversity on display at the gathering.

“This is the only panel I’ve ever seen without a white guy in a tie,” she quipped. Then she looked out at the aud, and noted a particular Anglo gent in business casual gear. “No offense, Steve Burke.”

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