Cilantro Encourages Intimacy with Multi-Flavoured Hispanic Market


When it comes to targeting the elusive Hispanic consumer, Cilantro Animation has this to say: "Be prepared to offer more than just Hola!"

(Though we'd like to point out that strategy worked wonders for Dora the Explorer.)

But Cilantro -- which creates Hispanic cartoons like the one at left -- makes an interesting point. When we hit ad:tech Miami we were overwhelmed with a sense that the Hispanic market remains unimpressed with the way big media has (or hasn't) tried to reach out.

And indeed, a salsa-colored Hola! just doesn't cut it when you consider the range of ethnicities blanketed under what we breezily dub Hispanic: Mexican, Cuban, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and others -- all with their own cultural customs, jokes and sensitivities.

"The Hispanic market has been lumped into a big bucket, and that doesn't serve the market properly," said President and CEO Salvatore Cavalieri of Cilantro.


Cilantro Animations uses 3D technology to build unique characters and ads for the Latin-American audience. Its 10 staff members hail from a number of Latin countries, giving the firm a wealth of cultural experience from which to draw.

Cavalieri notes it isn't just the cultural differences that yield a good targeted campaign; it's the transcendent similarities too. Across all groups the young adapt more quickly than the elderly, levels of education are increasing, and bilingualism plays a saucy role in daily communication (you don't need all-Spanish campaigns, but it helps to know when to add spice to your pitch).

The number of American-bred generations should also factor in, as it may vary by ethnicity and location.

Greater San Antonio, for example, has 2.3 million Hispanic residents, and many of those families have been in Texas for generations.

"Hispanic? Yes it is. But seventy-five percent is acculturated. So how should I talk to them? Should I use English? A combination of English and Spanish?" mused VP Raymundo Varela of Hispanic marketing for a prepaid mobile company.

Cilantro's solution for the firm was Spanglish (which isn't just the title for a cheesy romantic comedy!).


Learning to navigate the sensibilities of Hispanic audiences -- particularly if you're not Hispanic and have little exposure to the various cultures -- necessitates a touch of the inner Picasso. In other words, it's a fine art, and a new way to grow as a marketer.

"Technology is very democratic," Cavalieri mused. "Anybody with money and the proper resources can get it. But it's hard to learn art. It's an intrinsic talent.

"We may be an animation company, but if we don't have a story that captures your attention -- English or Spanish speaking -- we have failed."

Check Cilantro out.

by Angela Natividad    Feb- 6-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Campaigns, Online, Opinion, Packaging   

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