Beyond the Bodega

Hispanic consumers account for much of the recent growth in retail, and big-box retailers have been quick to take notice


Too often, U.S. Hispanic DRTV campaigns live or die by TV metrics alone. Some clients make minor allowances for television-driven Web activity. But in more than 11 years of hard-goods DRTV, I have yet to hear a single client refer to the specific impact that Hispanics have on their retail business.
The DRTV endgame is retail. Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, Home Depot, and other chains represent the pinnacle of success for any innovative “As Seen On TV” product. What do these retailers know that the direct response industry has yet to acknowledge or commit to? They see a market shopping—not hiding—in plain sight. These retail chains know that U.S. Hispanics shop beyond the bodega and outside the barrio.

According to Advertising Age’s Hispanic Fact Pack 2012, seven of the top 50 Spanish-language advertisers were retailers. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney together spend more than $300 million targeting U.S. Hispanics in their main language of commerce—Spanish. This total does not include spending by the major drugstore chains and supermarkets at the local broadcast level.

Shopping at America’s chain stores is a form of acculturation.

The chicken-and-egg question is: Are Hispanics shopping at mass-market, big-box retailers because of the merchandise, the deals, and their newfound wealth in America? Or is it because retailers have made it a point to build stores, advertise, and offer a mix of merchandise that appeals specifically to the Hispanic segment? The answer is likely a combination of both.

DRTV marketers can learn something here. Our industry is all about the deal and the “extreme” value proposition. Like chain retailers, we can easily advertise where the shoppers are—on Spanish-language television. And many of the products we sell are already ideally suited for the Hispanic market. There is nothing retailers can do that we can’t. But rather than compete, why not leverage Spanish-language advertising to increase retail sales?

  • Brian Hershey