The group served as panelists for the “Leveraging The Hispanic Market” learning track session held at the 28th Annual NAMIC Conference.

There’s a gap in portraying Latinos in the media, despite being “53 million strong” and the Latino demographic being “a coveted” by marketers, said Will Arrendondo, executive director, affiliate sales & marketing, NUVOtv at NAMIC’s annual conference last week. Yet unfortunately, “a lot of those roles that are available are maids, hyper sexual beings…” There are far more opportunities to portray a greater range of characters—and yet they’ve hardly been tapped.

Indeed, execs specializing in multicultural marketing suggested that catering to second generation Latinos must be subtle and authentic, after being laid on thick for so long. According to David Chitel, chmn & founder, New Generation Latino Consortium, CEO & Founder, NGL Media, the new generation of Latinos “is not a monolithic group… There’s a lot of nuances” to portraying them in the media, he said. Many Latinos don’t want to be put in a box and prefer a knowing “wink” as opposed to being marginalized, he said.

But Lucinda Martinez, svp, multicultural marketing, HBO, disagreed with Chitel’s opinion that winking is something Latinos want. “I missed the memo. I think the winking is bulls@#t,” she said, adding that smart marketing is more subtle and “means you authentically reach me and you do it right.” With multicultural marketing, “we’re not doing something special… we’re just marketing… This generation wants to be seen as they are,” she said, not how they think they are being perceived by you.“They don’t want to be talked down to,” she said.

Lynnette Ramirez, svp, programming, NUVOtv & Fuse, said that in the end it all comes back to content. “You can’t market without it,” she said. Nor does it matter what you call it.

So what’s the secret sauce? Ramirez suggested that in fact the more specific you are, the more universal your storytelling can be. For instance, she found that the net’s recently aired docu-series “Los Jets,” about an all-Latino soccer team in a high school in North Carolina, appealed to non-Latinos because “immigration is an American story,” she said. “There is not a Holy Grail to getting it right,” Chitel added.

One problem with multicultural marketing that needs to be addressed, said Mónica Gil, svp, gm, multicultural growth & strategy, Nielsen, is that companies looking to capitalize on the demo are buying research to look at the data—but “quantitative in not enough…. You need qualitative.” As a result of this incomplete approach, the analysis is shortsighted. “They are not connecting the dots,” she said. A possible solution? Hire sometime who is capable of doing that, she said. “Advertisers are still trying to figure out when to reach the bilingual brand,” but they need to know that “language is an enabler… and technology is a connector.” Knowing when to activate that bilingual marketing plan is key. “It has to be a journey. It’s not a one time stop.”

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