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Los Mocosos

It’s late January, we’ve experienced a bunch of 1s in the atmosphere regarding days, hours and dates.

I have no idea what that means in numerology but being an optimist, it’s a good start to the year. Plus, the Chinese zodiac tells us that we are entering the Year of the Rabbit in a couple of weeks. I read somewhere that it was actually a metal rabbit.

Anyway, the Super Bowl is in Dallas and features the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in what should be a terrific game. Plus, we’ll see some really good commercials.

In order to get to the big Big Dance, the Steelers beat the NY Jets the other day. They beat Mark Sanchez, the 2nd year QB from USC… The next Nammoth. Savior of The Jets. El Broadway Vato.

Mark also has Super Moco Powers. But to no avail.

In case you missed it, during the game Sanchez picked his nose then wipes it on backup QB Mark Brunell. I’m still laughing at poor Brunell’s reaction on that one. Disgusting guy humor I guess. One of my favorite bloggers, Laura Martinez put up a post almost immediately after the game with some good commentary. Video included.

I’ve got the perfect endorsement opportunity for Mark…MocoSpace! I wrote about Mocospace a couple of months ago. Mobile technology is where we’re heading. Look for some breakthrough advances and campaign successes in this area, especially in social media. Latinos are already big users, and that’s only going to grow much further.

So, MocoSpace is on to something. It’s a great way to connect with hip young mocosos.

If you like being a mocoso.

In case you didn’t know, moco means booger in Spanish. But I had also been informed that this network wasn’t aimed at Spanish speaking Latinos. Okay, por QLC (Que La Chingada) do they have MocoSpace Latino in Spanish then? Of course the non-Latinos behind the Moco love having fun with it. Are they laughing with us or at us? Perfect, get Mark as your pitch man.

Hysterically, his first action should be to dab a little moco on them.

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3 Kings Day: Celebrating with Latinos on El Dia de Los Reyes

Thursday (The 12th Day of Christmas), January 6 is El Dia de Los Reyes…3 Kings Day, which is celebrated in Mexico and Latin America. No Drummers drumming, but a very well celebrated holiday equal to Navidad.

January 6 marks the day that the
3 wise men arrived bearing gifts for Jesus way back when, in Bethlehem. And you thought everyone was taking the decorations down and getting into the 2011 swing of things, didn’t you?

Here’s a little bit about how El Dia de Los Reyes is celebrated in Mexico (it’s my understanding that other countries have their variances as well):

  • Kids write letters to Los Tres, much like is done to Santa in the US. Traditions in Mexico can vary from sticking the letter inside a shoe under an altar, next to a Nativity set or under a Christmas tree. I’ve heard of some traditions that involve burning the letters, allowing the smoke/wishes go up to the heavens.
  • On the 5th, the day before, kids start getting ready for the arrival of Los Tres. Kids are sent to bed early for the arrival of Los Tres but prior to that, customs include putting out gifts for Los Kings, as well as a little something for their camels such as water, hay, grass, etc. They’ve come a long way and they’re pretty tired.
  • On the morning of the 6th, kids get up early, start the commotion, fight over who got what, etc., similar to Christmas morning in the US. However, the payday isn’t as big as what we’re used to here in the US. Anyway, lots of smiles and laughter ensue.
  • For grown ups and the rest of the family, there are the get togethers at each others’ homes and celebrations. Lots of food and laughter. One traditional baked good is Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread that’s round, shaped like a crown. It’s fruitcake, but with a different (better) taste. One custom is to have a little baby figurine baked inside the Rosca. This symbolizes how Jesus was hidden from the Romans as a baby.

Some folks continue the celebration later on, into early February with Candlemas Day. This has a deeper, more religious meaning to it.

So, if you’ve been marketing to US Latinos or to those in Mexico, did you consider this Holiday? If not, there’s always next year when doing your planning.

In the meantime, you can go to most Mexican/Latino bakeries and get Rosca de Reyes now.

Go try something different!

Special thanks to Yucatan Living.

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INSPIRATION

It’s that time of year. The Holidays are here. Christmas decorations are everywhere. Inspirational music is in the air. People start feeling a little warm and fuzzy. A little bit of Santa comes out in most of us.

Are you inspired? If so, how? Why? Is it the season? Is it because it’s the end of the year and the thought of a new one is inspiring as a new start? All of the above?

We each get our inspiration from different sources. Inspiration means different things to each of us. Maybe you’re inspired to do the best you’ve ever done with a project you’re just beginning or ending the year with. What brought that inspiration on?

Was it dialogue with others that inspired and fired you up? Was it a competitive feeling that was triggered by something you saw or heard?

I find inspiration to be about improvement. Improvement upon what I do on a day to day basis, as well as improvement at doing something special. That special something could be for myself or it could be for others. As I said, inspiration means different things to different people.

Is it selfish to say that you are inspired to improve yourself and do better for yourself this season? I don’t think so. I think it’s part of centering. You’re the center. We’re all the center, right?  Work on/fix the center and all else around it get better as a result. Don’t you think?

What do you do to inspire yourself? What about inspiring others?

I try to be positive, especially in the face of adversity (which this past year has raised its ugly head on more that one occasion). I like doing it with humor whenever possible…life’s too short to be taken too serious. I attempt to forge ahead inspire those around me to do the same. And in the process, let’s do something good for others.

We shouldn’t have to wait for just that “inspirational time of year” to do something for others. Let’s do it more often.

We’re all better for the inspiration. Right?

Just don’t expect me to start singing any of those pinche Christmas tunes.

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MOCO-A-GO-GO. El MocoSpace.

NOTE: This post is a correction/retraction of an earlier post where I incorrectly identified MocoSpace as being from Nokia. Not so, it’s from JNJ. My bad.

Meet the Many Faces of Moco.

So reads the greeting on MocoSpace, a social network from JNJ mobile. The Moco mission statement states they want to be the best place to find friends, have fun and stay connected on your mobile phone.

One of their top advertisers, Nokia is using MocoSpace to promote 2 of their new phones, the Nokia Nuron and Mode. Both phones focus on the MocoSpace target of 18-24 year olds (1/3 Hispanic and 1/3 African American).

In this case, Moco stands for Mobile Community. Are the members/followers called Mocosos? What’s next, the PendejoSpace? I know I would call them Pendejos, sort of like many politicians, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile, back to the Mocos…

I first came across MocoSpace on my LinkedIn, account which took me to a write up on Portada. In the Portada link, the objective and brand intro is laid out nicely. Very well done, very well presented and very smart. Except for the name.

In case you’re not familiar with the Spanish language, what does moco mean? A moco is a booger. Or snot. Take your pick. The next question you're probably asking is why that name? How did they arrive at that name? ¿Que la chingada? Or simply WTF?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions. I do know that every Latino (from different parts of the US) I've spoken to online about this, laughs then say it's not a good idea. Everyone thinks I'm kidding, until I send the actual Moco link.

To be fair, maybe those of us decrying this aren’t the demographic, maybe we're the parents speaking out. When I came across the posting of MocoSpace, on LinkedIn, there was a mention by the Director of Ad Sales for MocoSpace. He stated: "MocoSpace has been around for 5 years with 15 million members in the US today. Over 40% of our audience identify themselves as Hispanic in their profile."

They did research the name, right? I'm hearing that things are going very well for MocoSpace.

Here's where I (and others) question this. We've all seen and heard of companies doing "research" in the Hispanic/Latino market before. Did they really do their research? Who did it? Was it done so that the results were what they wanted to hear? Lost in translation? Perhaps.

They sound pretty serious. The Ad Director said they have over 2x the number of unique Hispanic mobile visitors than Univision claims to have in their mobile network. He believes in the power of the MocoSpace, as he should. He sounds highly committed and behind his service/product. He sent me this link. He's the type of rep each of us enjoys working with.

Is this aligned with their advertisers' brands? More importantly, is it aligned with US Latinos? How about internationally, when you consider Mexico and other Latin American countries? Do they think no one will find this offensive? How about large groups of people finding it offensive? Plus, I understand that MocoSpace is well funded by prominent VC firms.

If you're going to get all Moco in your face and/or rebellious, is this a way to do it? Should it be more extreme/youthful? Or is this more ridicule and demeaning portrayals?

I'm curious to hear feedback on this. In a few years, will this be another business case study where corporate bucks went after the Hispanic market and flopped? If so, will it be due to the misalignment of the brand name?

In MocoSpace no one can hear you scream.

What do you think?

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Día de Los Muertos & US Hispanics: As American As Apple Empanadas

November 2 is the Mexican holiday and celebration known as Día de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead, which is widely celebrated in the US to the point of being almost as American as apple empanadas and Corona w/ lime. It is not part of Halloween, or as we know Halloween in the US.

Most people notice the celebrations via art, crafts and festivals as well as altars. These altars are devotional and highly personal in origin. However, they seem to have become as much a part of the American pop lexicon as Posada style skeletons, sugar skulls and Frida Kahlo images.

A quick, short and very brief history of Día de Los Muertos, for those not familiar with it:

For more than a couple thousand years, the indigenous peoples in what is now Mexico, had rituals which appeared to mock death but were actually more celebrations of life.  The Spaniards arrived over 500 years ago and were appalled and saw it as sacrilege and overall not such a good idea. They tried to eliminate it but somehow it morphed into what has become this holiday in Mexico where folks come together to pray and remember the departed. It’s a celebration and remembrance of life, as well as a way to honor the ancestors.

US Hispanics celebrate this holiday in a very familiar manner, especially in the Southwest. One thing to keep in mind is that these celebrations carry traditions of food and beverages that may have been favorites of the departed. Pan de Muerto is traditional fare as well. It's tasty and comes in varying shapes. Also, part of these celebrations include colorful sugar skulls (This makes it more agreeable than collecting the real thing for trophies, as the Aztecs did), and marigolds. It’s a time of reflection and partying.

In Mexico, these celebrations are traditionally held in cemeteries. Here in the US, it's usually a park or a cultural facility of some sort. I’ve always stressed the fact that Hispanics are not a monolithic group. These celebrations and customs also vary in different parts of Mexico.

I’m amazed at how many companies and marketers here in the US are "focusing" on the US Hispanic Market but haven't a clue about this holiday or (my favorite) "it's kind of spooky & morbid, so maybe not right now".

Whatever. It's your loss.

Día de Los Muertos has become part of the American landscape. It popularity continues to grow and become more widespread.

Do you celebrate Día de Los Muertos? If so, how?

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El Remediosphere®
Traditional approaches to Hispanic healthcare

My mother was raised on a rancho in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. When you got sick, you had remedies that worked for everyone, you went to a sobadora or a curandera. And if things were really bad, you were taken into town.

This is old school. No pinche WebMD for research. If you wanted to know something, you asked your comadre about it. You were part of the Collective Comadre Network.

One common herbal remedio is yerba buena. Yerba buena's great stuff, it’s used for everything from stomach ailments or flavoring mojitos. My mom also kept around a glass jar filled with rubbing alcohol that contained marijuana, which she would rub on her varicose veins. Aloe vera was always around as well.

Having asthma as a kid, my mom would rub Vicks (AKA vaporu, vivaporu, or el veex) all over my chest, usually along with other very nasty smelling herbs/weeds. Not yerba buena but my guess is that it was probably more along the lines of yerba mierda. After rubbing it on my chest, she'd make me put on a heating pad over my shirt and blanket. I can’t stand Vicks. I knew some kids ate the stuff. I like the smell of eucalyptus, which she would also boil leaves into a tea but I still find Vicks to be quite repulsive.

Growing up in Arizona, we were only 2 hours from the Mexican border, so we would go visit family, shop and so forth. I recall going to a yerberia for dried rattlesnake strips to eat daily in order to cure my asthma. Never having seen a snake cough, this made perfect sense to me. The meat tasted okay (like jerky), but didn't really cure me.

Prior to that trip, Doña Yoya in San Luis once gave me a little black bunny. I think the rabbit was supposed to absorb the asthma and I'd be cured. She lived a couple of houses away from my aunt and was a curandera who had a bunch of animals. Anyway, that didn't work. This rabbit was the first pet I ever had. The rabbit proved to be quite a trouble maker, and eventually we ate it.

I also remember one family friend using bleach for everything from ant bites to other skin ailments. That always had a nasty smell to the rub. Every once in a while I smell bleach and think of that. But it still doesn't repel me the way Vicks does.

I went on Facebook recently and asked friends a little about what type of remedios they remember from their childhoods.

Here’s a small sampling of what I heard back:

Suzi: We all know what cures-VICKS and 7-UP!

Veronica: I thought all cures came from a lil shot of tequila

Tony: Lemon honey and tequila
for coughs-Mexican Nyquil. Olive and castor oil after a hot bath in the winter.
Note- Tony also remembers his father using the pot in the alcohol for arthritis.

Celeste: Vaporu. That with some salpicot y una limpia con huevo and whatever weeds grew in the backyard. Santo remedio! Anything that was sting related had saliva in it: aver que te pongo ajo, con un poco de saliva.

Gennaro: Mi madre used to pull the skin on our back really hard to cure empacho, until today I don't know wtf that was about.

Lonnie: Mentholatum smeared under the nose. My suegra would shove it up her nose. I think she used a couple of tablespoons.

……….

Culturally,
we have a lot of herbs, beliefs and rituals that we relate to. These range from
lighting candles, to a limpia con huevo (go ask about that one), to rhymes. Think
of that little kiddie healing rhyme:

        “sana,
        sana,
        colita de rana…"

Before the internet, before WebMD, there was the Collective Comadre Network, which will always be around. Many of us continue these healing traditions. They are part of who we are and where we come from. It’s all part of the Remediosphere®.

Traditionally, Latinos have a different approach to healthcare. The more recent arrivals in the US bring along quite a few of their traditions. We know that but the majority of healthcare professionals out there don't.

What are some of the remedios you remember or ones that you've heard about?

This blog post originally ran in Latina-ish on 8/31/10.
It has also appeared last week in Muy Bueno Cookbook and Concina Diary.

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6 Outdated Stereotypes About Latinos/Hispanics in the US

Here's a quick hit list of outdated stereotypes and assumptions about Latinos. These answers will vary within the different population segments, but I wanted to share a few short points.

All have large families
On average, only slightly larger-3.6 members per household; compared with non-Hispanic Whites at 2.4 members per household.

All are Catholic
While Catholicism is big throughout Latin America, Evangelicals continue to grow. Don't forget the number of Latinos who are also Jewish.

All have the same aspirations
The American Dream means different things to different people. Find out what it means to your audience and where you might possibly fit in.

All are Democrats
This is a laughable and flawed misunderstanding, one that’s always big during an election year (such as now). Upon further inspection, you’ll find that a good percentage of Latinos vote Republican.

All have extended families living at home
This is only a part of the equation. Extended family living in the same household is more common in Latin America but not necessarily in the US, especially as assimilation and acculturation take hold.

All segments will assimilate "American" culture
Latinos come to the US with a range of talents and abilities. They come from a variety
of places and experiences, and they come under a variety of circumstances. Rethink this and assume “American” culture as evolving and assimilating to the new face of America.

….

There are a lot of others beyond this list. I'm curious to hear what you would like
to add to this list. Send me your comments and input.

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Spanglish…el bad boy de linguistics

Ask any bilingual professional (especially in marketing) what they think of using Spanglish and they’ll tell you there is no place for it in marketing, advertising, etc. They’ll get self righteous and well postured as they tell you this. Then as soon as they walk out, they’ll start using Spanglish, especially if a couple of beers are involved.

Why is that? Is it butchering the language? If done incorrectly, you just screwed up 2 languages. Especially if a message is being delivered via media channels to get a point across or sell something. Face it, bad use of Spanglish can make you come across as ignorant, illiterate, and like you’re part of the-low-tooth-per-head-ratio crowd.

However, on a personal interaction level, Spanglish can be great. Sort of like speaking your own Secret Global Citizen Code, like an Hombre Secreto on a mission of some sort. Or at the very least you’ll sound like you’re enjoying yourself. One time a non-Spanish speaking
friend of mine, upon hearing two of us speaking Spanglish and going back and forth, asked me why we do that. Why? I never thought about it, but I guess it’s because we can. We can, therefore why not, right? It’s that Hombre Secreto Code thing, right?

I’ve always heard a lot of Spanglish. I was born in a Mexican border town and grew up in Arizona, so I’ve heard a lot of this linguistic fusion. I think it’s a natural for bilingual/bicultural gente.

Here’s a good example I’ve heard quite often around farm areas: “Okay, hay me esperas, then I’ll get mi troca y te recojo and then vamos a lonchar en la chuck wagon, okay?”

It’s a beautifully appreciated global code system when you hear it spoken really fast too. Very natural. Especially given the fact that Latinos use our hands to punctuate or tone down dialogue, even on the phone. Then when you factor in the end of the work day, some cervezas and some verbal madrazos, the lenguaje gets very colorful.

In case you’re not a fluent Spanish speaker, here’s a quick crash course in Spanglish and the art of the madrazo (cervezas not required):

  • “Hey, bring me that little chingadera, please.”
  • “If you kids don’t behave, I’m going to get my pinche chancla and then van a ver who’s in charge around here.”
  • “Hey_________(insert MLB player name here)! Don’t be such a maricón…that was a good pitch!”

That last one can be a pretty good, or bad insult. Be prepared for accompanying laughter or a potentially violent reaction. Note: on all of the above, be sure to use hand and head gestures when incorporating them into everyday conversations.

There you go. You’re now ready to start using Spanglish, and on your way to becoming a Secret Global Citizen, complete with your own linguistic code.

What are some of your favorite phrases you hear or use?

This blog post originally ran in Latina-ish on 7/28/10.

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Chisme: Rumors and Branding

Rumors. You know what they are and how they go. Chismes (a little more elaboration on this term later).

A rumor gets started, maybe you hear it early on, later you hear it after it’s been passed around a bit and by then, it’s blown completely out of proportion from where it started.

Usually not for the better.

However, our audience could also spread (or relay) a story/rumor about you, then they embellish it for the better. Suddenly it’s: “We went from being pedestrian to royalty in no time” or “Tales are told about us saving mankind, finding a cure for cancer, as we cleaned up BP’s oil spill, etc.”

Think of your brand as a rumor. You put it out there. It gets spread and passed around. Before you know it, it’s taken on an entirely different meaning and message than what it started out as. Taking control of your brand means managing it. You do this, you manage and control the rumor. I’m not talking about spin, but about how
your brand reputation spreads. Very much like a rumor.

What is there about your brand (and its buzz) that you can leverage? Remember, not all rumors are bad. Can you control the rumor ethically? More importantly, can you do it while having others spread the rumor for you?

Think of how you manage all aspects of your brand. Look what LeBron did with rumors. ESPN helped facilitate and spread the rumors. It’s amazing how the
media spread this rumor like wildfire. It was easy to look away and not be
caught up in the rumor. But for many it was easy to get caught up in it as
well. The rumors surrounding that entire affair were astounding. And now, we’re
tired of all this mierda and hearing non-stop speculation about The Miami 3. Right?

Chismes y mitotes…switching gears (and language) for a minute.

If you’re looking at the Hispanic market, in the Spanish language one word for rumor is mitote. The word mitote has a little more of a title going for it (sometimes complete with its own pinche soundtrack). Chismes are more scandalous, tabloid worthy.

I’ll talk about this real soon.

Are you in control of the rumor mill? How about the mitote mill?

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Which Commericals did you like best during the world cup games?

Now that the World Cup championship game is set between Spain and the Netherlands on Sunday, FIFA comes to a close and any mention of the games from that point forward will be met with moans and groans.

I’ve enjoyed the commercials during the games. Granted, commercials only air before the game, at the half and after the game, unlike other sports playoffs in the US, where commercials run during all time outs. I’ve been impressed with most of the commercials. Excellent messaging, great execution and an excellent overall demonstration of who gets it with the messaging for US Latinos. And the really good spots did it with humor, most didn’t rely on the folklorico dancer and the smiling molachito.

Sure, there are some typical lame examples with stereotypes and over emphasized pandering, but most of those are in local markets (most but not all) and are easier to avoid.

I’m curious to hear which commercials you liked and thought were notable.

Here are a few of the ones I liked:

Bing- Los Links. Sexy parody of a telenovela plot line. In Spanish, and on ABC.

Hyundai- Loyalty. The wake for the dead patriarch going to the hereafter in his team's colors. Not just Latino but global.

Bud Light- good all around as always.

Of course Adidas and Nike did some excellent and energetic spots that get the adrenaline pumping. Safe to say we expect no less.

AT&T's Guerreros Aztecas, the new warriors, about the players and their heritage. Very Mexican. Low key, but powerful.

Flipping over to Univision, I saw some excellent Bud Light spots. One Familia spot was a good play off of the extended family. Especially with the hot primas showing up.

Coke- A universal beverage, lots of excellent feel good spots w/ flag music. We dream in different languages.

Tecate- Excellent campaign. Great spots about men. Hombres y los que somos…

Sure these spots had big budgets for a big stage, but the point is that the concepts were excellent. It all starts with the idea on reaching the audience, reaching the Latino audiences among the mainstream and connecting. These aren’t necessarily Hispanic brands, they’re brands that connect with Hispanics/Latinos and
everyone with a shared interest.

Now, if we could just inject some passion into the voiceovers and coverage…

It's about an emotional connection and about relevancy.

So, what spots did you see that you really liked?

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