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What’s In A Name?

Posted on April 3, 2012 and read 2,732 times

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renatabio Whats In A Name?Renata Florio
Chief Creative Officer

“Cappuccino with skim milk for Nancy…

…Nancy, cappuccino…


After the third time I realized this call is for me. Since moving to the U.S. last year, I’ve been giving American names to baristas – not because I am a secret agent, but because it makes my life easier. “Renata” just seems too difficult for them. If I pronounce it with an “H” it sounds like “Hotel” and they don’t get it. If I pronounce with an “R” it sounds like “Restaurant,” and they don’t get it either. So I decided to say “Nancy” or “Cindy,” just to get things done faster.

The only problem is remembering right away. Sometimes the barista calls “my name” and it takes me a while to realize it’s “me” she’s talking to. This experience makes me wonder how many others in the U.S. might be making these kinds of concessions every day just to fit in.

The idea that Hispanics must somehow alter themselves to fit in to mainstream American culture has big implications for brands – especially as the country’s Hispanic population blooms.  For instance, how many Hispanics have to play a different role when watching a commercial, going online, reading a print ad and – most importantly – when shopping?

Do they change their names? Do they change their habits? Do they change at all?

They shouldn’t have to. Instead, as brands reaching out to them, we should learn how to speak their language. It only requires some practice. Here are some real examples in different categories of how we address cultural differences and communicate our message more effectively at Wing.


We work with one brand whose approach to the general market was all about looking natural/clean.

For Hispanics, though, looking natural means wearing all the makeup you are entitled to. So, we came up with a spot using the same celebrity shown in the general market (who happens to be Hispanic), ­stating that she feels naked without her makeup. Makeup is important to her self-esteem and she is proud of it.

We didn’t tell Hispanic women to change their looks or habits. We communicated that we understood their beauty behavior, and could help them feel even better.

Packaged Goods

We took a similar approach in a recent campaign for a scented fabric brand.  The general market campaign touted five different scents for a single woman to choose from, according to their mood. We knew that message wouldn’t resonate with Latinos, who tend to make a choice and stick with it, so we presented the product as five single scents to choose from, stressing she could pick the one that matched her personality


Our campaign for the New York International Latino Film Festival attracted a Hispanic target with messaging that was sure to resonate with any Latino who’s ever felt stereotyped by Hollywood. Our campaign poked fun at the stereotypical representations of Latinos in movies – as maids, gardeners and hard workers in general.

The campaign was also effective in inviting general market consumers by encouraging them to go see a different type of Latino character within the festivals films.

These three examples prove that communication is more effective when it’s tailored specifically to your audience. Don’t tell them to follow the mainstream. Give them an alternative that fits the culture and values they subscribe to, so everyone can express his/her own personality.

This way we are talking to Nancys, indeed, but also we are speaking to the heart of Marías, Lucías, Milagros, Luces, Rosas, Angelas, Teresas, Pablos, Josés, Antonios and of course, Renatas.




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