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Millennials: El Americano Nuevo has arrived

I just came across this excellent article in the Huff Post by Jose Tillan, GM/Executive VP at Tr3s: MTV Musica y Mas, and had to share it.

Hispanic Millennials

I was especially drawn to its provocative title, The Death of The Hispanic Adult Demo as We Know It. Plus, a friend shared it with me.

I like the fact that it challenges our thinking about conventional Latino demographics. We always hear about Latinos being a younger demographic and how by mid-century we will be in the majority.

So why do so many marketers and research people seem to over-focus on adults? Especially mom (la jefa)? Traditionally, this has been right on but by ignoring Millennials, are you insinuating that they’re kids and don’t really matter? Are you saying they’re a bunch of mama’s boys/girls?

Or is your thinking just behind where it should be?

Millennials are here. They tend to multi-task a heck of a lot better than the majority of us do. They’re more tolerant. They mix and match their worlds. They’re American youth.

Read the article and learn a little different insight. Let me know what you think about it.

Click here to read the article.

 

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Hispanic Heritage Month- It’s more than logoed trash cans & swag bags

We’re just past the halfway point of Hispanic Heritage Month.

I’m glad that our heritage is honored for the month. But it’s important to stop, reflect and ask questions of ourselves as to its meanings. Remember, it kicks off on El 16 de Septiembre with El Grito, based on Mexico’s revolt against Spain. It’s about liberation, celebration and heritage. It’s a time that we should be proudly celebrating and advancing our liberation as a people as well as individually.

Especially here in America.

We should be striving for excellence. We should be asking ourselves the tough questions, breaking out of the status quo as well as our comfort zones.

For corporations and brands reaching out to Latinos, what does it mean? Why do they do it? Some do it for little more than expressing an annually mandated gesture of tokenism.

How many ads do we see where employees stand in front of the building clapping, with a headline that states “We Applaud Hispanic Heritage Month”?

Puro pendejismo.

Excuse me, but I get the urge to puke when I see a Folklorico dancer in an ad or on a poster. This is fine if you’re promoting Folklorico. But otherwise…

Show some imagination.

Unfortunately, much of this crap is produced by a Latino agency (or freelancer) practicing mediocrity during this month. It’s thrown to them as a bone in the name of supplier diversity during this month. Is this genuine or is it more nonsense?

Is this the best we can do?

Unfortunately, many like the lap dog approach. You’ll hear “Don’t rock the boat, don’t make waves.” I’ve never been a radical or had militant tendencies, though I’ve known many through the years who were. Some still are. I think we need some of this ideology to be truly productive and move forward.

A friend once told me that corporations (and Govt. entities) reaching the US Latino market want tame Mexicans. “They want lap dogs. They don’t want their tunnel vision stereotypes upset”. I found this interesting. Sadly, there are always plenty of organizations ready to fill this niche.

In the meantime, many Latino groups are left to argue and bicker over logoed trash cans and swag bags filled with company pens and a variety of tchotchkes.

Is this the best we can do?  We expect no more?

A lot of marketing experts lay claim to knowing and reaching the Latino market very well. A lot do. And many don’t.

Being Latino doesn’t make you an expert.

Being non-Latino doesn’t exclude you.

I’m curious though, how well do you know us behind the doors and the windows? You may know our art (Diego, Frida, etc…yawn), music (La Bamba??), food and latest census numbers. But have you bothered to take the time and delve further into our backgrounds?

You may have read some very good and very valid marketing books, reports, etc. But have you read and understood the experiences of authors such as Luis Alberto Urrea and his writings about the US/Mexico border? Have you bothered to read and understand Stella Pope Duarte or Sandra Cisneros and their unique insights of life as Chicanas? How about Puerto Rican author Hector Varela?

Have you read anything from our perspective?

If not, I suggest you invest your time into some first hand experiences of these authors and numerous others. Reading about Latino demographics is good. It’s beneficial, but not enough. Especially, if you really want to know us.

And stop thinking that simply translating everything is the answer.

Hispanic Heritage Month is more than trite Folklorico images and beer signs.

It’s more than a propensity of logoed trash cans at events. And it’s certainly more than Latino organizations fighting over who gets the most trash cans.

We can do better.

Right?

 

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Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas

I have a piece of artwork on exhibit in Los Angeles at the Autry National Center of the American West. The piece will be on display for the museum’s Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas (Bold Horsemen and Noble Bandits) exhibit. The exhibit will remain on display though May 10, 2009.  My work and the work of other artists are part of a juried, invitational exhibition showcasing the roles of Latinos in the American West, as cross-cultural influences.

My childhood heroes and my heritage are what inspire my artwork. The piece on display at the Autry Center is a reflection of me, as the Cisco Kid during my childhood adventures and my love for nopales (prickly pear cactus). The piece titled El Cisco Kid: The Original Nopalista is a serigraph monoprint, which is part of a series based on my admiration of the Cisco Kid. Another piece in the series, El Cisco Kid 2 is also featured in a book “The Cisco Kid,” American Hero, Hispanic Roots by Francis M. Nevins and Gary D. Keller; the book will also be part of the exhibit. Learn more about the exhibit at www.autrynationalcenter.org/future_exhibitions.php. 

My depiction of the Cicso Kid is ideal for the Autry Center because it is an example of the museum’s mission of connecting the past of the old American West with the present. I accomplish this through the use of vivid colors and expression, further proof of my great respect for the legendary good guy. As a child, I wore a hat, had the plastic guns, wore boots and ran around telling everyone I was El Cisco Kid.

The Autry National Center of the American West is the core of three institutions: the Museum of the American West, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and the Institute for the Study of the American West.  The Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas exhibit focuses on the Latino experience and the interplay of fact and fantasy in the depiction of Latina and Latino “noble bandits”. All over the world, stories and folktales are told about certain bandits, who stood for social justice.

The Autry was established in 2003 after merging with the Southwest Museum, the Women of the West Museum and the Museum of the American West (formerly the Autry Museum of Western Heritage). Innovative exhibitions, a broad range of programs and extensive collection of art and artifacts, the center explores the distinct stories and interactions of they people and cultures of the American West. The museum is located in Los Angeles California. For more information on the Bold Caballeros y Noble Bandidas exhibit or other exhibits please visit www.autrynationalcenter.org.

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