Cover image for Latinos, Inc. : the marketing and making of a people
Latinos, Inc. : the marketing and making of a people
Dávila, Arlene M., 1965-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xv, 287 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HF5415.33.U6 D38 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Both Hollywood and corporate America are taking note of the marketing power of the growing Latino population in the United States. And as salsa takes over both the dance floor and the condiment shelf, the influence of Latin culture is gaining momentum in American society as a whole. Yet the increasing visibility of Latinos in mainstream culture has not been accompanied by a similar level of economic parity or political enfranchisement. In this important, original, and entertaining book, Arlene D#65533;vila provides a critical examination of the Hispanic marketing industry and of its role in the making and marketing of U.S. Latinos.

D#65533;vila finds that Latinos' increased popularity in the marketplace is simultaneously accompanied by their growing exotification and invisibility. She scrutinizes the complex interests that are involved in the public representation of Latinos as a generic and culturally distinct people and questions the homogeneity of the different Latino subnationalities that supposedly comprise the same people and group of consumers. In a fascinating discussion of how populations have become reconfigured as market segments, she shows that the market and marketing discourse become important terrains where Latinos debate their social identities and public standing.

Author Notes

Arlene D#65533;vila is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at New York University.She is the author of Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico (1997).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Davila (New York Univ.) embarks upon a detailed investigation into the American shaping of a growing and diverse cultural group. Building on a solid foundation of statistical evidence and key trends, she systematically explores many popular notions of Latino culture. Included are analyses of many different facets, among them commonly conveyed media images, ascribed values, and the role of the Spanish language itself. Examples from multinational corporations, advertising agencies, and selected findings from focus group research bolster her ongoing attempt to debunk many widely held myths about Latinos. Comparison to other ethnic groups (African Americans and Asian Americans) underscores Davila's overall conclusion that segmentation on the basis of ethnicity alone may lead to oversimplification and misguided thinking. Each chapter is densely packed with information, and the writing style is clearly designed to reach a sophisticated and highly educated audience. Recommended for researchers, practitioners, and graduate students at an advanced level. S. D. Clark St. John's University (NY)



Chapter One "Don't Panic, I'm Hispanic" The Trends and Economy of Cultural Flows Today 50% of all bookings at Radio City Music Hall are Hispanic artists. Salsa outsells ketchup in the Midwest. Nachos beat hot-dogs at movies. What's happening? Simple: A cultural and marketing phenomenon known as the U.S. Hispanic market. Bromley Aguilar Associates, media kit, 1999 Hispanic marketing is now a multibillion dollar industry, spread throughout Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, and every other center with a large concentration of Latina populations. Some thirty five years ago, however, what is now considered one of the fastest growing segments of the marketing industry was primarily fueled by a handful of recently arrived immigrants of mostly Cuban origin who struggled to promote the profitability and even existence of this language- and culture-specific market. This first generation has since attained an almost mythic status in the Hispanic advertising industry. They are considered its founding figures and credited both with the industry's gains, including its current profitability, as well as evils, such as the stereotypes bequeathed to younger generations, making them a natural starting point for delving into the industry's origins and present scope. This chapter provides an overview of some recurring issues affecting the growth and current operations of the Hispanic marketing industry. It is informed by interviews and conversations with some of these founding figures, who, when recalling their experiences, brought up many continuities with the present. Recurring issues in their discussions suggest that the industry faced similar dilemmas from the outset. Among these issues are the continued marginality of the Hispanic advertising industry vis-à-vis the general market and its structural vulnerability stemming from its long-time dependence on a static and marketable vision of what is, in fact, a fluid and heterogeneous population. As I argue below, this dependence, directly informed by U.S. paradigms of racial and ethnic organization, sustains ongoing disjunctures between a coveted Hispanic public and those seeking to speak for and about it. These discussions also revealed that the Hispanic marketing industry, like any culture industry, does not simply manufacture cultural symbols and ideas, but simultaneously reflects dominant hierarchies of representation and the greater political economy structures affecting the commodification of Hispanics in this country. To emphasize these issues, I forego a strictly chronological account of the industry's origins and instead draw from these narratives some introductory segments on trends that were repeatedly mentioned as having had the greatest effect on the industry's establishment and ensuing development. These include the Latin American foundations of the U.S. Spanish TV networks and of the marketing industry and its organization along ethnic and linguistic lines, the growth and consolidation of the category of "Hispanic" for peoples of Latin American background in this country, and global trends affecting the advertising industry at large. Shaping Hispanidad from Latin America Latin America has always figured prominently in the imagery of Latinas in this country and, as will become evident later, a great part of the Hispanic media's mission and function has been to serve as the venue in which U.S.-based Hispanics can consume and experience Latin America from within the U.S. context. One of the great contradictions of the U.S. Hispanic media, however, has been that while supposedly geared to the United States and not Latin America, it has nonetheless been highly dependent on transnational Latin American media conglomerates and developments, dynamics which the United States has been very much involved in fostering. This is evident in the evolution of the Spanish TV networks, the most important force behind the growth of a culturally specific U.S. Hispanic market. While advertising for U.S. Hispanic populations dates back to the very origins of Spanish-language media at the turn of the twentieth century, commercial broadcasting and national television networks provided the greatest impetus to the growth of Hispanic advertising as a specialized industry, as they did for the advertising industry in general. This began in the 1960s, when independent brokers began buying intermittent time from English stations for Spanish TV and culminated in the creation of the Spanish International Network (SIN), later renamed Univision, and of Telemundo, national networks that now have subsidiaries and affiliated stations throughout the continental United States. To understand the impact of these national networks, we need to consider that prior to their development, marketing to Hispanics was mostly a local endeavor. Former staff of the few New York City Hispanic advertising agencies that existed in the 1960s recalled that their business was centered on local radio stations and was highly dependent on direct promotions through bodegas, Puerto Rican--owned markets that proliferated in New York's Puerto Rican neighborhoods during the 1950s. Network television, however, quickly transformed advertising into a national endeavor. Not only did it create a dependable and steady base for placing advertising by providing continuous programming for Spanish-speaking populations, but it also formed the basis for the conceptualization of Hispanics as a nationwide community, linked and imagined by the networks. This development dates to 1961 when Emilio Azcárraga, a Mexican television entrepreneur and the main figure behind Televisa's Mexican TV empire, purchased TV stations in San Antonio and Los Angeles, establishing SIN/SICC (Spanish International Network and Spanish International Communications Corporations). Azcárraga had long tried to import Televisa's programming into the United States, yet, faced with the undoubtedly racially motivated institutional opposition to any type of Spanish TV, he decided that buying entire stations, rather than intermittent time from American stations, would enable him to secure the importation of his programs. The purchase had to take place in association with a group of employees and business partners in order to circumvent FCC rules preventing non-citizens from owning more than 20 percent of any U.S. TV station. Despite this, Azcárraga and Televisa retained operational control of the stations, assuring the Latin American basis that has shaped the industry's subsequent growth. SIN/SICC quickly expanded to sixteen stations by the mid-1970s, and after becoming the first U.S. network connected by satellite in 1976, it became pivotal in the conceptualization of a nationwide U.S. Hispanic market. Prior to the satellite connections, each SIN station operated independently, negotiating its own advertising contracts and programming schedule. Programs sent by SIN's network to its stations would travel from one station to another, leading each station to operate in its own time frame with respect to serials, advertising, and shows. Connection via satellite brought about a growing standardization in the programming and lowered risks in its projection, which in turn facilitated the distribution and transmission of advertising. Advertising agencies could finally negotiate with a network rather than with individual stations and thus assure clients that their ads would reach a nationwide audience. By 1982, SIN could claim to reach 90 percent of Latina households through its sixteen-station network, its one hundred repeater stations and more than two hundred cable systems (Rodríguez 1999: 38). Later renamed Univision, SIN attained its present reach of twenty owned and operated stations and twenty-seven affiliates throughout the United States, encompassing almost every center with a sizable Latina/Hispanic population. Thus, more than any previous medium, the networks helped forge and maintain an ethnic niche for the Hispanic market, with regard not only to the general market, but also to other minority markets, such as the African American and Asian markets, both of which lacked a national television network through which to constitute and renew a nationwide market. As one agency owner put it, "The networks meant that we existed and were here to stay." The U.S. Spanish networks now dominate advertising budgets and thus have been most influential in the development of the Hispanic marketing industry. In particular, they have been a major force in sustaining the historically close ties between the Hispanic advertising and media industry and Latin America, thus helping to preserve the dominance of Latin American producers and productions. Univision, the highest rated Hispanic network, is a perfect example of this. Until the late 1980s, its precursor SIN/SICC served more as a receptacle for Mexican programming, with over 90 percent of its network hours devoted to programs directly aired or imported from Mexico (Avila 1997; Gutiérrez 1979). This dominance led to accusations of excessive and unlawful foreign control and even to the court-ordered sale of the network in 1986 and its acquisition by Hallmark/First Capital, which renamed it Univision. In reality, however, this change in ownership and control was just temporary: in 1992 it was bought by Jerry Perenchio, in partnership with Azcárraga's Televisa International of Mexico, which thus reacquired partial ownership of the network, and with yet another media empire in Latin America, Cisnero's Venevision Media Group of Venezuela, which also owns a sizable portion of other Latin American network stations. The Latin American transnational connections that characterized the U.S. Hispanic media market from the outset were thus quickly reestablished. Telemundo, for its part, although always in the hands of U.S. corporations, having been launched by Reliance Capital in 1986, and recently bought by Sony, Liberty Media, Apollo Investment Fund and Bastion Capital in 1998, has also maintained direct links with the Latin American media market. However, it was not Mexico but Puerto Rico that figured prominently in the development of what would later become Telemundo. Behind its development were media personalities like Carlos Barba, a soap opera actor in his native Cuba who had previously worked in the development of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican television. Brought to New York by Columbia Pictures, which owned the Puerto Rican channel where he worked at the time of their purchase of New York's channel 47, Barba was soon made director of programming, consolidating the New York--Puerto Rican connection through the importation of island-made Puerto Rican programming that he thought was more relevant to the mostly Puerto Rican Latina population in the city. In contrast to SIN's mostly Mexican programming, channel 47 emphasized New York--filmed shows of Puerto Rican personalities like Mirta Silva, Boby Capó, and Polito Vega, and later the importation of Puerto Rican--produced shows like "La Taverna India," "El Show de Chucho Avellanet" and "El Show del Medio Dia," all of which kept channel 47 directly tied to Puerto Rican television. This programming synergy would continue until the channel's purchase by Telemundo Group, not surprisingly named after the Puerto Rican channel 2, whose American owners at the time were behind the establishment of the U.S. Telemundo network in 1986. After its foundation, Telemundo continued to rely mostly on Latin American programming until its acquisition by the U.S. investors who are discussed in a later chapter. Although aimed at the U.S. Hispanic population as a whole, its programming shifted from Puerto Rican fare to mostly Mexican and Venezuelan imports, dubbed American movies that are still key to its programming, and a few U.S.-produced shows. The continued involvement of particular Latin American countries in the U.S. Hispanic market through Televisa or Venevision, however, could not be described as a reversal of cultural imperialism. Hollywood's exports to Mexico far exceed Mexico's involvement in the Spanish market, and U.S. investments in Mexico's cultural industries have continued to escalate after NAFTA (McAnany and Wilkinson 1996). What is undeniable is the continued merger of the U.S. Hispanic market with that of Latin America and the dominance of the Latin American media market, particularly of the countries with the strongest media empires, such as Mexico and Venezuela, in these arrangements. This undoubtedly has also led to one of the many disjunctions at play in the Latina-oriented advertising industry, consisting of the enduring gaps between the producers and consumers of these images fueled by the structural demands of an industry claiming to represent U.S. Latinas even though its very structure has historically been more directly tied to a Latin American rather than a Latina infrastructure. Among other issues, these transcontinental connections have traditionally made the Spanish language central to the market, and looked to Latin America as the source of talent and programming. Consider for instance that Univision's profitability has traditionally been predicated on its ability to show the same programming as in Latin America-also benefiting from producing in pesos and selling in dollars-instead of investing in new programming and productions. Moreover, while there has been a greater emphasis on U.S.-based productions for the U.S. market since the mid-1980s, these programs have, as I discuss later, generally been developed as potential exports with the Latin American market, not solely the U.S. Hispanic market, in mind. Univision already licenses and distributes the talk show Cristina to over eighteen countries and the four-hour game, contest, and entertainment show Sábado Gigante to twenty, while Telemundo sells its current affairs magazine Ocurrió Así to twelve foreign markets (Aponte 1998; Tobenkin 1997). Similarly, the stations' all-Spanish policy has led to a heavy reliance on the artistic pool of specific Latin American countries, where "authentic" Spanish speakers are often recruited to work in the United States. Even the guests for Cristina, Sezvec, and Sábado Gigante are often brought in from Latin America to assure their acceptability for the Latin American media market. These processes will be more closely examined later. The issue here is the strong Latin American connections that have attended the growth of the U.S. Spanish network, making their development far from a U.S. self-generating process. The development of the Hispanic advertising industry evidences similar although unique transnational trends of its own. First the industry's growth was tied to the migration of Cubans and Puerto Ricans to New York City throughout the 1950s. By the 1960s, a steady influx of mostly working-class Puerto Rican migrants fleeing massive unemployment generated by the island's development and modernization project of Operation Bootstrap had produced a sizable Spanish-speaking presence in New York, a strong incentive for entrepreneurs to develop programming and marketing for this population. Cuban immigration after the Cuban Revolution, meanwhile, brought key figures of the well-developed Cuban publicity, entertainment, and marketing industries who were ready to tap the marketing opportunities arising from the changing demographics in the city. Indeed, Cuban executives who had previously been involved in advertising and marketing in Cuba were behind the development of the first and largest advertising agencies that targeted populations of Latin American background, not only in New York City but also throughout the United States. For example, SAMS (Spanish Advertising and Marketing Services), the first and largest full-service Hispanic advertising agency in the United States, was founded in 1962 by Luis Díaz Albertini, who had worked for McCann Erickson and for J. Walter Thompson's Cuban affiliate in Havana, and later in the local Godoy and Godoy, where he handled U.S. brands such as Del Monte, Kellogg's, and Scott paper. Similarly, the founders of Conill Advertising, headed by a husband-and wife-team, had owned a successful agency in Cuba, where they marketed a variety of U.S. products for the local market as well as for other Latin American countries. Some accounts even traveled with particular advertising personalities from Cuba, as in the case of Colgate, which had previously been represented in his native Cuba by José Luis Cubas, founder of Siboney U.S.A. Thus, the dominance of Cubans in the development of the contemporary Hispanic advertising industry arose from previous attempts at globalization by the international advertising industry, whose early extension into places like Cuba and Mexico was fundamental to the subsequent development of the advertising agencies targeting U.S. Hispanic populations. Cuban publicists who would later become leading figures in the U.S. Hispanic market were not new entrants to the structures of American advertising and of its publicity industry, but had long functioned as marketing and modernizing agents at home. As such, they had previous knowledge of American corporate clients, products, and, most important, contacts in corporate America who would provide a pivotal advantage in obtaining clients and in networking for their clients. Rafael Conill, founder of Conill Advertising in 1968, which would become one of the largest Hispanic agencies by the early 1980s, was greeted at the airport upon arrival by a old American business friend from Cuba. As I was told by his wife, Alicia, this is the same friend who later helped his pitch to Campbell's Soup for the U.S. Hispanic market account. And while it took them over three years to get some business from Campbell, as well as great effort to convince them to advertise to this market at all, it was such contacts that enabled them to secure contracts with national clients. Many of these Cuban advertising executives also had extensive contacts throughout Latin America, since they had represented U.S. products in these markets, which provided them with additional knowledge about and exposure to different Latin American countries and supported their eventual role as brokers of a pan-Latina identity in the United States. In this light, the work of the Conills and of other Latin American advertising entrepreneurs to create and reinforce the idea of a nationwide Hispanic market surfaces as the extension and transposition of an already existing vision to the U.S. context-the idea of "Latin America" as a common market for the United States, although Latin America was now not external, but within the very confines of the United States. Indeed SAMS' early accounts, such as Lorillard cigarettes (makers of Kent and Newport), were initially commissioned for the Latin American, not the U.S. Latina, market, and key leaders of the industry such as Alicia Conill herself worked for Latin American accounts during their early years in the United States prior to working exclusively for the U.S. Hispanic market. Thus, although Hispanic advertising agencies had been operating since the 1960s, the idea of a U.S. Hispanic market would only become important in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Prior to that, Hispanic agencies advertised mostly for the local New York market or else represented clients in Latin America. Alicia Conill, for instance, recalled turning down Latin American accounts in order to convince clients to focus on the U.S. Hispanic market as an exclusive and profitable market totally independent of Latin America. Neither the industry's Latin American antecedents nor its founders' previous contacts with U.S. corporate clients, however, would have sustained its development had they not been supported by a nascent ethnic economy based on close connections among the first generation of Cuban advertising entrepreneurs. As has already been documented for Cubans in Miami and Puerto Rico (Cobas and Duany 1997; Portes and Stepick 1993), the entrepreneurial success of the first generation of New York's Cuban advertising executives who arrived after Castro's revolution was predicated on their shared class background-most were educated and of upper- or middle-class extraction-and on the establishment of an ethnic economy where ethnic ties were central in dispensing credits, employment, and economic opportunities. As the founder of one of the most important independent New York Hispanic shops explained in response to my inquiries about the involvement of Cubans in this industry, most were the sons of "pequeños comerciantes" of Spanish background who had been steeped in the ideology of business ownership. Those with no direct involvement in Cuba's advertising industry had nonetheless been exposed to U.S. brands and to their commercialization, which, my informant argued, provided the "perfect transition" for their involvement in advertising and marketing. As he explained when recalling his early years in the United States, "I remember talking at dinner with my family about the marketing opportunities here, of what was available here and there. Because there was a long tradition of marketing in Cuba, and we had long been exposed to the brands." Like other successful Cubans in this industry, this executive emphasized that the relative economic advantages enjoyed by Cubans back home did not guarantee their eventual success in the United States. They came as exiles and refugees, he noted, "with five dollars in their pockets" and-echoing what I was told by others-with only a "psychological disposition" to succeed and aspiration and ambition in their blood. Clearly, however, such "predispositions" were connected to the cultural, if not economic, capital that most of them shared as members of a privileged entrepreneurial class that was already successful in Cuba and had prior connections to marketing and sales. Also central to their success were the ongoing personal relationships among them, some of which originated back in Cuba and carried over to the United States, and some of which were forged in the United States. Castor Fernández and Jorge Reynardus, for instance, were two central advertising figures in New York and owners of their own advertising shops, who were neighbors in Cuba and lived together in New York, where they studied together at Baruch College. The founding directors of agencies that were in greatest competition for national advertising accounts throughout the late 1970s, Conill Advertising and Castor Advertising, were such close friends that Rafael Conill became godfather to Castor's sons, and they were once neighbors in Miami. Such relationships were central in assuring the Cuban presence at the outset, transforming these early agencies into training grounds for some of the most important figures in the industry. Rafael Turaño, who later became director of Univision, worked at SAMS as did Sarah Sunshine, an advertising veteran now with Bravo, which in turn was founded by Daisy Exposito, who used to work with Alicia Conill at Conill Advertising. From Castor Advertising emerged Jorge Moya, and Vidal and Jorge Reynardus, who now have two of the last independently owned shops in New York City. Other agencies founded and led by Cubans during the 1970s include Font and Vaamonte, founded in 1977, and Siboney, first established in Cuba in 1954, later moved to Puerto Rico, and finally opened in the United States in 1983. The Cuban presence in the advertising and marketing industry, particularly in the eastern United States, though much less dominant today, is still noticeable in the likes of Eduardo Caballero, Tere Zubizarreta, Daisy Exposito, and other recognized pioneers. Beyond the eastern United States, Noble and Associates and La Agencia de Orci in Los Angeles had similar origins in Latin America, although their founders/creators were mostly advertising executives from Mexico. Noble and Associates, for instance, was the product of Ed Noble, a Mexican advertiser and one of Azcárraga's business partners in his acquisition of SIN, and Richard Dillon, an American who had worked in Mexico for General Foods for ten years and whose multiple contacts with Fortune 500 hundred companies, as he himself noted, allowed this agency to rapidly become one of the largest in the business. Richard Dillon later went on to found Mendoza Dillon with a Mexican creative from Young and Rubicam in Mexico who was trying to open his own agency in Los Angeles, without Dillon's contacts and hence without success. Similarly, La Agencia de Orci was founded by Hector and Norma Orci, who moved to Los Angeles from Mexico to start a Hispanic ad division for McCann Erickson Worldwide, and from that division, created La Agencia. Only a handful of advertising agencies in the West, such as Sosa and Associates, founded by Texas-born Lionel Sosa, were the product of U.S.-born Hispanics. Following the dominant pattern of the market, however, these too wound up importing most of their creatives from Latin America or from among the Latin American creatives working for their New York competitors. However, the Latin American origins of the U.S. Hispanic market are not solely the result of prior connections between Latin American and Anglo-American entrepreneurs. The trend evokes the highly racialized context in which this industry developed. Numerous times I heard members of the first Hispanic marketing generation assert that they had created the market because they were not acomplejados (shamed and embarrassed by their identity), as were most Latinas they encountered in the United States. Comments such as this testify to the different subject positions, class and racial backgrounds, and levels of awareness relative to U.S. racism and discrimination among the U.S.-based Latina and the recent arrival, which need to be acknowledged as major factors affecting the initial involvement and ensuing success of the recent arrival in this industry's development. As explained by Eduardo Caballero, founder and director of Caballero Spanish Media and a widely recognized founding figure in the industry, What happened is that we Cubans got here with no fear of being discriminated against. We did not think of discrimination. And perhaps they were discriminating against us, but we were not aware of it. We just thought that we should speak Spanish because that's what we spoke. We had not passed through the process that many Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans had gone [through] where you could not present yourself as Hispanic. You had to hide that you spoke Spanish because you would otherwise be looked down upon. I have Mexican American friends whose mothers packed Mexican food for lunch and who threw it away before arriving at school, just because they knew that if they were caught eating a tortilla or a taco, they'd be hit. And they spent the whole day without food. I remember traveling in the subway here in New York, back when I used the subway before I had made it in my business, and I saw all of these Puerto Ricans-because most people here were Puerto Ricans back then-and you saw people reading El Diario but covering it up with the Daily News, hiding the fact that they were reading Spanish in public. . . . So the problem was a lack of identity, or more exactly people's shame about their identity. I know this may sound harsh, but it was a reality that as a general rule people were afraid of their identity and that this was what hurt the market's development the most. It was only with the growth of the media that most Mexican Americans realized that it was OK to speak Spanish; that it was no crime. So the media did contribute extraordinarily to solving the identity problem, which was the greatest problem there. Because the Hispanic market always existed, but the Spanish-speaking Hispanic market had to be created. Not all Cubans I spoke with were as willing as Caballero to talk about racism or to acknowledge the different degrees of discrimination faced by Latinas in the United States. What most of them did share with Caballero, however, was a tacit agreement to assess the relative pride of Latinas in their culture by imposed standards-mostly by a single variable, their use of Spanish in public life-and hence by the same standards of the recently arrived Latin American entrepreneurs intent on creating "Hispanics" as a Spanish-speaking market. Still, the lack of experience with U.S. racism by Cuban immigrants in the 1960s was undoubtedly crucial to their success in furthering Hispanidad. They, unlike their U.S.-based Latina counterparts, had not yet fully internalized its subordinate status and could adopt more freely the attitude expressed by Caballero: "We should speak Spanish because that's what we spoke." This, of course, does not mean that they were exempt from discrimination. As will be evident later, they are indeed aware of racism and see Hispanic marketing as a tool for promoting pride in all things Latin. Our discussions, however, were characterized by a distancing on their part that allowed them to position themselves as the primary examples of Hispanidad and the "uplifters" of all things Hispanic, while distinguishing themselves from most Hispanics. The following statement by Carlos Barba is evocative of this type of positioning: This is a business, but at the same time, this has also been my life's mission involving defending human values, those of the Hispanic community, so that we get the respect that we deserve and we have equal opportunities with the rest of U.S. citizens. Simply put, our mission is to make sure that the Hispanic community gets more respect by helping Hispanics grow professionally and spiritually. To motivate Hispanics so that they register and vote, and to encourage people to preserve our language and our tradition so that we continue being what we are, a humble race but one with a big heart and great ambition. Comments such as these are common among advertising entrepreneurs, who referred to their role as one of uplifting and enlightening Hispanics regarding the "right" way of being Hispanic in this country. In the process they would position themselves strategically as Hispanic while maintaining an ambiguous relationship to the bulk of the Hispanic/Latina community. After all, as different as they may in fact be from most U.S. Hispanics, it is in their self-presentation as Hispanics that their success and legitimacy would reside. The Ethnic Division of Cultural Labor A direct result of the Spanish-language-centered infrastructure of the U.S. Hispanic marketing industry is an ethnic division of labor whereby the Latin American corporate intellectuals from middle- and upper-class backgrounds rather than U.S.-born Latinas generally dominate the creation and dissemination of "Hispanic" images in this country. Obviously, divisions and hierarchies based on structural or departmental distinctions at different levels and stages of production in various culture industries are common features of the media production process (Lutz and Collins 1993). Yet beyond these characteristic distinctions, the Hispanic marketing industry's Latin American connections have led to the dominance in the U.S. media market of what the industry calls "Spanish-dominant" Latinas, who have relocated to the United States as adults, often to pursue advanced studies, or who have had previous experience in the advertising and marketing industries in some of the major Latin American markets for U.S. brands, such as Mexico and Venezuela, and who have kept their so-called grammatically correct Spanish-language skills. Accordingly, highly privileged and educated Latin American recent arrivals are more likely to be found in creative departments, where demands for "perfect language skills" bar most U.S. Latinas. The latter are more common in production or in client services departments, which require what was described to me as "their more Americanized" skills to handle corporate clients or negotiate with other segments of the industry. The industry craves highly educated, bilingual Hispanics whose ethnicity does not present a problem to Anglo clients and who can accurately represent and translate Spanish creative concepts for Anglo clients. These are what America Rodríguez, after Ruben Rumbaut, has called the "one-and one-half generation," who were born in Latin America, but were educated in the United States and came of age in the United States" (Rodríguez 1999: 5), providing them a simultaneous insider and outsider perspective into U.S. Hispanics and corporate America. However, for creative jobs, a "pure Latin American" import coming from one of the major transnational advertising conglomerates in Latin America is the most favored due to his or her "fresh" and untainted language skills. Indeed, during my research, several agencies had just hired someone directly from South America to run their creative departments, following a common pattern in the industry, which still complains of not being able to find creative talent in the United States. This lack of talent is not about lack of education or training. Many of my Latina students graduating with majors in communications, for instance, would be barred from entry into Hispanic marketing, or pushed to behind-the scenes operations, solely on the basis of their language skills. The inequalities of this ethnic division are evident when we consider that in the advertising industry at large a position as a "creative" on the staff that conceives of an ad's creative strategy is far more visible and prestigious than any other position dealing with research, accounts, or clients. It is the creative who wins prizes and name recognition, what Dornfeld (1998) has called "career capital," based on Bourdieu's (1993) discussion of the anti-economic logic that predominates, to various degrees, different fields of cultural production. Beyond financial compensation, such capital provides the creative with prestige and connections in the industry that may allow him to found his own agency at a later time. I say "him" purposefully, because gender disparity accompanies this ethnic division of labor. While women have attained positions of power within the industry, the most renowned, or at least many of the most frequently mentioned creatives during the course of my research (such as Tony Dieste, Roberto Alcazar, Luis Miguel Messiano, Sergio Alcocer, Jorge Moya) were all Latin American--born men, as were most agency directors. Except for the few fully independent agencies, however, ultimate power is held by the American investors who have bought many of these agencies. Yet, whether Spanish or English is dominant, most Hispanic marketers are at odds with the average Hispanic consumer in terms of class, race, and background. After all, many Hispanic marketers and creatives are highly educated and have even come to the United States with secure jobs in the industry after having worked in transnational advertising companies in their home countries. A representative example of this trend is Maruchi Gómez, who was hired by New York--based Vidal Reynardus and Moya (VRM; now the Vidal Partnership) to work in the Heineken account on the recommendation of a corporate client who had worked with her in De la Cruz, Miller's agency of record in Puerto Rico. She in turn, brought in a friend from Lopito and Howie, another Puerto Rican agency, to work at VRM. At VRM there were six Mexican women who had all worked at Noble and Associates in Mexico and had found employment in the agency through each other's contact. The three Mexican creatives Sergio Torres, José Hernández, and Roberto Desmarás, who at one point worked at New York City's Castor Advertising, are another relevant example. José Hernández, who joined Castor after working at Ferrer Publicidad in Mexico, was hired at Castor Advertising only because his résumé landed in the hands of his friend who, in turn, got his job in New York through another friend he met in the Dominican Republic, where he was sent on assignment by Mexico's Leo Burnett. When that friend migrated to the United States, Sergio came, and through him, José. In between, Sergio had worked in production in Venezuela, where he met Antonio Barreto, who, though his assistance, eventually also found employment at Castor. José, a former anthropology major in Mexico, even drew me a kinship chart to explain the multiple connections that make this industry, in the words of another agency director, a "private club where everyone knows each other," but one easily joined by people with advertising backgrounds in places like Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. This ethnic division of labor is also apparent in the Hispanic entertainment industry. Whereas Univision's programming department has traditionally been dominated by Latin Americans, mostly Cubans, its sales staff at the management level is no longer "Hispanic" but Anglo, recently recruited from major networks like ABC and Fox. This "vanillization" of the network, as critics have dubbed it, reminds us that while a Hispanic's authenticity may be profitable for creative purposes, it is a hindrance for entering and successfully operating within the inner circles of corporate America. In this realm, Anglos have the contacts and command the greatest authority, as reflected in the record increases in advertising revenues at Univision as a result of their hiring Ronald Furman, Dennis McCauley, and Tom McGarrity, all recruited from major general market stations, to lead its sales team (Zbar 1998c: 28). Conversations with some of the station's sales team revealed that it is not their knowledge of the Hispanic market that has made them so successful but their contacts and the legitimacy that is vested in them on the basis of their "whiteness." One Anglo salesperson who admitted that his previous experience in this market consisted of a trip to Mexico or a crash Berlitz course explained, "We are not seen as just one more interest group, be it black, gay, or Hispanic, knocking on their doors [corporate clients] to get money for their own niche." Additionally, because most corporate clients are Anglo, the new team has the advantage of being seen as their potential allies. As another explained, "Clients are culturally ignorant, and the sales go better if they don't have to worry about saying the wrong or insensitive thing." Specifically, he noted, their strength lay in their common understanding that for corporate clients, Spanish TV is "tacky" or "cheesy," making their job one of speaking their clients' language and presenting it as "hot, sexy, and cool," a comment that suggested the type of overt stereotypes upon which the selling of Latinidad is ultimately based. This infrastructure is guided not solely by the networks' concern with language purity, but also by economic considerations. Just as it is cheaper to produce and export programming to the United States, it is cheaper to film commercials in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. For evidence of the intricate links between Latin American production companies and the U.S. Hispanic market, one need only peruse trade publications like Publicidad y Comerciales to see the number of advertisements placed by the latter to attract filming, production, and post-production in Latin American countries. Among other advantages, filming in Latin America frees companies from paying union fees, although I have heard that informal arrangements to waive union fees were a feature of the Miami and Los Angeles production scenes. I was also told that it is easier to avoid paying residual wages (whereby actors/actresses receive a percentage of pay whenever commercials are shown) through buyouts or one-time fees in Latin America. However, the advertising staffs' insistence on the supposedly easy access to authentic-looking Latin scenes or the abundance of actors in Latin America were, in my opinion, most revealing of the Latin American biases of this industry. Are there not enough "authentic" Latinas/Hispanics in this country? I will return to this issue when discussing the creation of the generic, pan-Hispanic look, but first, it is worth noting that the international connections that characterize the growth and development of the U.S. Hispanic marketing industry are far from unique. Increasingly, global culture industries are characterized by an attendant "new international division of cultural labor," whereby, just as has long happened with manufacturing, companies relocate or allocate portions of the production process internationally according to the logic of increased profitability (Miller 1998: 171) What the Latin American basis of the U.S. Hispanic marketing industry suggests, however, is that such international arrangements have long been a feature of many so-called local or national culture industries. Additionally, the Latin American basis of the U.S. Hispanic market brings to the forefront the ubiquitous issues of authenticity and representativity that accompany such global arrangements. For the historical connections with the Latin American media market have not gone unquestioned by the public, by critics, and by media activists who see them as responsible for perpetuating a Hispano- and Latin American--centered definition of Latinidad that excludes English-dominant U.S.-based Latinas and provides few opportunities for U.S.-generated Latina producers and productions. The Hispanic networks and media structures have therefore been criticized for erasing Hispanics and turning them into "second-class audiences" not only in the Anglo media but also within the media that are supposed to represent Hispanics in this country (Avila 1997). Also controversial is the central place of the Spanish language in the industry. While obviously guided by economic considerations, the use of Spanish is at the center of current debates on Hispanic identity and has numerous political implications. Some critics see the networks as agents in the decentering of monolingual nationalism in the United States, while others regard them as promulgating essentialist definitions of identity based on language, definitions which bar second and third generations of Latinas in this country (Esparza 1998). Before considering these issues, which certainly merit more attention and will continue to surface in different guises throughout this work, I turn first to a key factor that has helped veil this and other disjunctions in the Hispanic advertising industry: the structural identity of the Hispanic media as representative of the totality of the Hispanic population, and the role that "Hispanic" as a category has had in legitimating and veiling contradictions in the process of representation. The Category That Made Us the Same When you miss Latina, you miss you. Subscribe today. Latina magazine, 1999 Decir Hostos y Clemente y Hector Lavoe, estás orgulloso de lo que eres Hispano Americano, esta es tu estación. Caliente es tu idioma, es tu música, es tu sangre, eres tú . . . ahora New York es Caliente. (Summer radio promotion for the new 105.9 FM Latin Hispanic radio station). "It was about time. We are no longer an obscure force, we are finally being recognized. We are moving forward, and no one can stop us." Lily Santana, listener, upon learning that La Mega 97.9 had become the first Hispanic station to attain the No. 1 spot in the New York ratings. It is not at all surprising that the listener in the last epigraph above would feel ethnic pride as a result of New York City's Spanish radio station "La Mega" attaining number one status in the 1998 Arbitron ratings. Even critics of the station felt that its number one position signaled Latinas' growing, though unrecognized, presence and power in the city. This outpouring of identification with the success of a radio station that consistently presents itself as "tu estación" and "la estación de los Latinos" is part and parcel of a second development that was repeatedly identified as an important influence on the industry's growth: the consolidation of a common category of identification for "Latinas," or Hispanics, and its appropriation and continued promotion by the media and advertising industry. Common categories to encompass peoples of Latin American background in the United States have existed since the nineteenth century. In New York City, which served as a center for nationalists, revolutionaries, intellectuals, and exiles from Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, "Hispanic" had already become a generalized designation for a number of clubs, churches, and magazines, as well as for the "colonias Hispanas" that have developed in Brooklyn and East Harlem since the turn of the century. Yet only in the 1970s, when the U.S. census institutionalized a category for all populations from any Spanish-speaking country of the Caribbean, Central or South America, or even Spain, that a common category became standardized and widespread on a national basis. This development peaked in the 1980s, when changes in the census categorization of Hispanics that allowed people to identify themselves as of Spanish-Hispanic origin or descent, or as one of the specific Latin American nationalities that were later added to this category, revealed a 53 percent growth in the number of people who categorized themselves as Hispanic (Fox 1996: 25--26). The category of "Hispanic" is one that scholars and activists have contested and challenged. Grouping both Latin American and U.S.-born populations as well as Europeans into a single category veils the variable social statuses of the constituent groups, some of whom-like Puerto Ricans and Chicanos-are historical and colonial minorities in this country. Critics have thus rightfully argued that the homogenization of all Latina subgroups into a common category, be it Hispanic or Latina, involves the depoliticization of the history of conquest and colonization that has affected particular Latina nationalities. This is why Juan Flores insists on the need to distinguish the processes and circumstances that have led to the continuing relegation of some Latina subgroups, such as Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, to the status of racial or colonial minorities in the United States, despite their U.S. citizenship and historical trajectory in this country (Flores 2000). For others, the problem is not so much the idea of a common category but a problem of nomenclature. Without challenging the need for a common identity term to encompass these diverse populations, some have criticized "Hispanic" for its elitist evocations of Spain, its business connotations, and its imposed status, proposing instead "Latina," a name that is less evocative of ties to Spain, as the rightful political term for this population. Without engaging in a broader discussion of this category, I will note that, while controversial at the level of politics and scholarship, the official use of a single category for people of Latin American origin or descent has proven to be the most significant force in the marketing industry's development. Advertisers had been lobbying for the acknowledgment of a common Hispanic culture or identity since the 1960s, and this category became the legitimization of their claims and the springboard for the industry's rapid growth after the mid-1970s. As Eduardo Caballero put it, "If the census had not drafted those categories, nothing else would have worked. Based on the census, you can tell an advertiser that in Los Angeles 60 percent of the people are Hispanic and that if they only devoted 1 percent to this market, they'd be losing their money. It's a matter of logic." Moreover, while complex and contradictory, this category met precisely the needs of the advertising industry which, following the trend of the commercial networks, had seen in "Spanish" the core of a common identity for the diversity of populations of Latin American background in the United States. Most important, the official recognition of "Hispanics" as a distinct population assisted the industry's growth by promoting the view that there are indeed some essential and intrinsic characteristics that all "Hispanics" share. As Castor Fernández, founder/director of one of New York's oldest Hispanic agencies stated, "Don't Panic, I'm Hispanic" could well have been the slogan behind the rapid growth of the Hispanic advertising industry after the 1970s. In light of the growing numbers of Hispanics, its advertisers could now reassure clients that they "knew the market; that they too were Hispanic." Indeed, through these and similar assertions, both the founders of these agencies, our Cuban-born, "authentic," Spanish-speaking Hispanics, and others involved in the industry have since established and validated their knowledge and the legitimacy of the market. Through these claims they have been able to gain an exclusive hold over a growing target market and to turn this industry into a thriving one. Specifically, this category facilitated their appeal for more profitable nationwide campaigns aimed at the totality of the Hispanic market through unique advertising-altogether new campaigns specifically designed to reach the "distinct" Hispanic consumer. Yet, far from mere fabrications of shrewd business people, these strategies of self-representation point us to yet another recurrent issue affecting this industry from its outset: the fact that these strategies are directly implicated in U.S. racial categories which have since guided the strategies by which most Hispanic corporate intellectuals represent themselves and their market. Such claims would be of little value if they were not predicated on the dominant view that there are indeed some essential and intrinsic commonalities that are shared by all "Hispanics." They are successful only because, as I was often told, their mainstream clients always considered Hispanic advertising executives to be as "Hispanic" as residents of the barrio, whether in the Bronx or Los Angeles, and therefore able to speak for the totality of the Hispanic population. Thus, when seeking to understand the growth and current operations of the Hispanic marketing industry, we cannot ignore the influence of dominant discourses and categories of identity in the United States, and their appropriation and manipulation by advertisers as a way to extract profit from the market's intrinsic differences and particularities. This has traditionally involved emphasizing their Hispanic identity, asserting that "they too are Hispanic," and thus rightful advocates for "Hispanics" vis-à-vis the "average American consumer," veiling differences of class, race, and other exclusionary principles that are mobilized in the process of representation, as will become evident throughout this work. As one agency director stated, echoing similar statements on the cultural commonality between agencies and their audiences, "What we still have to convey to our clients is that only a Hispanic can really understand our culture, our way of being and feelings, to produce a truly compelling and relevant campaign. It is not a professional that a client gets when they hire us, but a Hispanic advertising professional" (his emphasis). Hispanic ad professionals thus become both victims of U.S. "othering" practices, homogenized into the marginal category of Hispanic regardless of their class or educational background and their lack of identification with most Hispanics, as well as key "tropicalizers." That is, as in the view of Aparicio and Chávez-Silverman, advertisers have simultaneously become agents "trop[ing], imbu[ing] a particular space, geography, group, or nation with a set of traits, images, and values" (1997: 8), mostly by circulating dominant representations of Latinidad that draw on the exotic and the essential characteristics of the "other." The construction of Hispanics and things Hispanic as homogeneous entities is also involved with the industry's positioning as a democratic and equalizing medium for the totality of the Hispanic population. Specifically, just as Hispanic creatives and agency owners have construed themselves as representative of all Hispanics, the industry itself has been similarly constituted as a key arena of advocacy and support for the totality of the Hispanic population. A promotion for Zubi Advertising (figure 1), published in Advertising Age and other marketing trade publications, provides a good example of this position. While the copy compels readers to "Erase Stereotypes" by hiring Zubi, the specialist agency which truly understands the Hispanic market, the image underscores that only a Hispanic advertising agency can uncover the upscale and modern woman who lies beneath the stereotype and the Carmen Miranda sombrero. Similarly, during my interviews, most of the industry's staff repeatedly presented and credited themselves with playing a key role in challenging stereotypes and promoting a more sophisticated view of Hispanics, and with contributing to the increased representation to which, as 11 percent of the population, Hispanics are "entitled." Such claims were as common among early founders as among young practitioners, although they were mediated by the particularities of the historical context framing their work. Undoubtedly, the first generation of Hispanic agencies in the mid 1960s and early 1970s encountered a more hostile context, a less developed media infrastructure, and even less recognition in mainstream society. All founding figures told tales of racism and rejection by corporate clients who were not only unaware of the existence of Latinas, but alarmed at and even afraid about the size of this market, resisting the idea of advertising to what they considered an inferior and impoverished ghetto population. A former staff member at Univision's sales department now working at Telemundo recalled, I remember being in the middle of a presentation. I was saying that there were nine million Latinas, which of course, I did not know for certain, but I knew he knew even less than I, when all of the sudden, I noticed his face full of fear. He wanted to know where were all of these Latinas, where they lived, in which locations. He had never realized there were so many Latinas and so close to him, in New York. And I knew that he was not interested in our sales pitch. He just wanted to flee. In light of such experiences, it is not at all surprising that when recalling the strong resistance of corporate clients as well as the larger context of racism that discouraged the teaching of Spanish and its public use, most Hispanic marketers were confident that their industry had helped to promote pride and reverse racism with regard to the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. Indeed, the fact that this industry's inception coincided with civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s is not without important consequences. The larger social and political context of those times became a selling point for these agencies; many agents recalled presenting their work as a venue of representation for the entire Latina population, implying in their sales pitches that they advertised to Latinas in their own "culture" and language with greater claims over identity and representation. Later generations of Hispanic advertisers encountered a well-developed nexus of TV stations, advertising agencies, and census data with which to prove the existence of this market. In this context, not only the "political correctness" of selling to Hispanics but its profitability as well have been central in their business presentations. Never mind here that pitching around profits or tokenism is an imaginary distinction: in the world of marketing, political correctness is only acceptable if profitable, and ethnic marketing is precisely political correctness turned profitable. Still, despite making a distinction between politically correct appeals (that is, tokenism) and appeals to sheer business profitability, these younger professionals also saw themselves as advocates, and the industry as a forum to valorize the populations they sought to represent. Some even claimed to have joined the industry as a statement of their Latina identity or to discover their roots. This was the case with Rose Vega, a young woman of Cuban background raised in New Jersey, who described herself as a "Cubanita arrepentida," living most of her adult life passing for white (Anglo-American), which was facilitated by her fluency in English, lack of accent, and her whiteness. Having married an Anglo and changed her name, she said she lived as a gringa until joining Hispanic marketing, which she felt was the first step toward her own rediscovery as a Latina. Similar stories of ethnic self-discovery were recounted by other ad professionals. In contrast to the founders, however, newer generations are skeptical of overtly political pitches, which they believe make them look "less professional," and prefer instead to emphasize the market value of the Hispanic consumer. As one emphatically stated, "Back then it was an issue of politics and tokenism, but now it is their pockets [corporate pockets] that are speaking" and hence to their pockets that they should pitch. This type of purely economic marketing pitch, however, is hindered by the industry's peripheral position vis-à-vis the general market, which necessarily implies issues of equality and representativity. Even today, when Hispanic marketing is supposedly fashionable, advertising expenditures in the Hispanic market lag well behind advertising in the so-called general market. The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimates that Hispanic marketing receives only 1 percent of all ad spending in the United States, even though Latinas are believed to constitute about 11 percent of the U.S. population (Riley 2000). The permanent resident card (figure 2) printed on the cover of P & C, an industry trade magazine, plays out the ironies of such disparities, expressing uncertainty about the future of Hispanic marketing. Under "Card expires" it reads, "We hope it doesn't," and at the bottom it asks, "{{?}}No sera hora de ir tramitando la ciudadania?" or "Isn't it time to get full citizenship?" Moreover, not only are companies spending less to reach ethnic and Hispanic consumers relative to what they spend to reach non-ethnic consumers, but reaching them is worth much less than reaching the "mainstream" consumer. According to a 1999 study by the Federal Communications Commission, advertisers that regularly pay $1 per listener for general market stations pay only 78 cents per listener for minority-formatted stations and 71 cents for stations that are both minority-owned and minority-formatted (Teinowitz and Cardona 1999), as if paralleling the two-thirds value that black populations were once given relative to whites. Such inequalities in reaching the ethnic consumer have numerous repercussions, ranging from the excessive billboarding common in the "cheaper" urban and ethnic residential areas compared to the more restrained advertising seen in white residential areas, to the lower revenues of Hispanic media, even when the latter's audience share may surpass that of the general market, as in the case of New York City's "La Mega" (Schwirtz 1998). These trends also point to the multiple manifestations of racism, whereby advertising for Hispanics is seen as tarnishing the image of goods among white buyers, while Hispanic consumers are stereotyped as destitute and thus as unlikely consumers (Schwirtz 1998). Advertising in the Hispanic market is therefore always associated with politics and raised as a gauge of Latina representativity, inevitably forcing the industry to sell itself not solely on marketing but also on political grounds. Evidence of these dynamics was not hard to find during my research. Within weeks of my having settled in the city, a memo by Katz Radio Group containing derogatory remarks against blacks and Latinas and implying that advertising for these audiences was appealing to "suspects, not prospects" came to light, and became the subject of great controversy in the industry and among the public at large ( Hispanic Market Weekly, May 18, 1998). This memo, followed shortly by an episode in one of the last Seinfeld shows, in which Kramer stomps over a flaming Puerto Rican flag during the Puerto Rican day parade, triggered demonstrations in front of Young and Rubicam's headquarters over the issue of equity in advertising budgets for blacks and Latinas during the summer of 1998, and turned the disparity in advertising budget into a contentious political issue throughout the year. New Yorkers saw Senator Efrain Gonzalez, president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, team up with black activist Al Sharpton to demand that corporations advertise more in the Hispanic market, and to organize the Invitational Summit on Multicultural Markets and Media in New York City in 1999 (figure 3). Aimed at exposing inequalities in corporate advertising spending in general and ethnic markets, the summit was symbolically scheduled on Martin Luther King's birthday to emphasize the political basis of their claim for equal advertising as a right and for the need of increased corporate spending in these markets. The political implications of this industry are also evident in the appointment of Henry Cisneros, four-term mayor of San Antonio and former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Clinton administration, as the first president and chief officer of Univision in 1997. In hiring him, Univision was not only recruiting a highly connected politician to appeal to the intrinsic growth, political power, and monetary worth of the Hispanic population in the quest for advertising equity, but was also reinforcing the mutuality of politics and marketing in the very person of Cisneros. This appointment is one example of a trend in the Hispanic advertising and media industry: its self-presentation as a venue for corporate America to prove its support for the totality of the Hispanic population. Attracting advertising monies from corporations relative to the percentage of Latinas, the argument goes, entails increasing the power and representativity of the Hispanic population, and constitutes a public statement of their "worth." Clearly, these views are not restricted to the Hispanic market, but are part and parcel of the long association of consumer choice with democracy that is part of contemporary consumer society. As Stuart Ewen (1988) and others have observed, this development is part of the so-called democratizing of wealth, whereby the politics of images and style becomes a central site for reversing social inequalities, at least at the symbolic level, so central to the expression of class distinctions and power. Some argue that this trend has increased the importance of the market beyond that of the state as a central arena for mediating needs or claiming entitlements, as people become relatively more important as consumers than as citizens (García-Canclini 1995; Firat and Dholakia 1998). For Latinas and other U.S. minorities, these trends are of even greater consequence. Given the discontinuation of FCC regulations that promoted minority media ownership and the current context of media deregulation, it is as consumers or through appeals to their "growing buying power" that Hispanics and other minority consumers must try to influence the commercial forces that more and more affect every aspect of their lives. This equation of advertising revenues with participatory democracy is, however, highly problematic. By taking advertising budgets as a measure of Latina power, the equation reduces the meaning of political enfranchisement to consumer representation-yet it is not in the market that Hispanics are most ignored and disenfranchised. The growth of Hispanic marketing at the same time that anti-immigration and English-only laws are gaining currency is a clear indication of such a disparity. While still a minimal sector within the general market, Hispanic marketing currently constitutes the sector where Hispanic's opinions are most sought after and quantified in research and focus group situations, and where Hispanic culture is not questioned but promoted, even if only to be packaged and sold back to them. Yet another problem is that in emphasizing the "growing buying power of Hispanics," the industry helps cloak the poverty and inequality that afflicts a great number of Hispanics. For now, however, we should remember that neither the Hispanic media and marketing industry nor the definitions and categories generated to represent this market are reducible to mere fabrications of shrewd creatives. Neither are they devoid of political significance. Seen against the ongoing ethnic hierarchies that "make all of us the same," such constructions are at once the medium through which advertisers commodify, stereotype, and profit from what is in fact a heterogeneous population, as well as the medium through which Hispanics attain representation in a context where Hispanic images are often few or altogether absent and where the market stands at the center of struggles over representation, if not power. Global Trends: Segmenting and Containing the Market A final issue behind the growth and development of the Hispanic marketing industry that I will consider in this chapter involves the greater advertising industry and some of the larger trends affecting its development. Most Hispanic agencies in New York City and beyond were first founded as independent entities to market products to what was until the 1980s seen as an untapped and ignored population. Yet the Hispanic advertising industry was never free from linkages with corporate structures nor from the influence of mainstream advertising agencies and trends. Recall the previous involvement of Cuban and later Mexican founders of U.S. agencies with transnational advertising agencies in their home countries. Similarly, the founder of SAMS, which is commonly regarded by advertisers as the first specialized, independent advertising agency for Hispanics in this country, originally worked with Goya products, thus evidencing the corporate and external links that affected the history of the industry. Moreover, the decentralization and expansion of many of the New York City agencies in the United States often occurred in response to the needs of specific clients who wanted to expand to these markets Siboney, for example, prior to opening its offices in New York and focusing on the U.S. Hispanic market, had operated in Puerto Rico and moved American brands throughout Latin America. However, since the mid 1970s, global trends in advertising affecting the general advertising and marketing industry have had an increasing impact on the Hispanic marketing industry in particular. Specifically, a renewed emphasis on segmented and targeted marketing along the lines of age, gender, race, or ethnicity (Turow 1997), as well as on integrated, or "one-stop," marketing, have directly impinged on Hispanic marketing and on the operations of Hispanic agencies. On the one hand, interest in segmented and targeted marketing facilitated the relatively rapid success of this industry, whose interest in the development of a specialized market coincided with the general trend toward market segmentation of the times (Leiss et al. 1997). The flip side of this trend, however, is that by generating interest in Hispanics as a specialized market, the Hispanic advertising industry became a particularly attractive target for mergers and buyouts by major transnational agencies. Concurrent with the general interest in one-stop marketing, the acquisition of Hispanic and other culture-specific agencies targeting Asian Americans and African Americans would become a common strategy through which transnational advertising networks sought to consolidate a variety of services and markets within their own firms and attain instant expertise and credibility in ethnic marketing. The acquisition of Hispanic agencies allowed advertising conglomerates to assure their corporate clients of the standardization of strategy and message for products across different audience segments-an increasingly common demand in the industry at large. Furthermore, by incorporating them as minority-owned entities within the greater conglomerate, corporate clients could shield their efforts with a veil of "political correctness" when appealing to the minority consumer (Mendosa 1989). Additional interest in the Hispanic market by global advertising conglomerates was triggered by a sudden public recognition of Hispanics in mainstream society throughout the 1980s. Spurred by a series of developments, including the sharp rise in the number of Hispanics revealed in the 1980 census, a 1978 Time magazine special report declaring that Hispanics would soon become the nation's largest minority, and the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, the 1980s were touted as the "Hispanic Decade," arousing interest in Hispanics as consumers. This was also the time when multiculturalism was being popularized as a political discourse, which further contributed to corporate America's interest in Hispanics as a culturally specific marketing niche. This was evident both in the rise of advertising budgets for Hispanic advertising throughout the 1980s and the launching of "ethnic" and Hispanic marketing departments by major corporations such as Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola. Signs of this development were obvious among Hispanic advertising agencies in New York, as most of the early Cuban-owned ad agencies were either bought by or merged with transnational advertising agencies seeking to stake a claim in a booming market. The result is that today, although there are still a number of independent agencies in the city and new ones are always emerging, the industry has increasingly become dominated by transnational advertising and publicity conglomerates. Widespread interest in the Hispanic market is similarly evident in the general media and marketing industry at large, which has seen an explosion of new magazines, publications and media initiatives geared to Latinas (Brody 1998; Wilke 1998). Thus we see Time Warner publishing People en Español, Essence Communication's endorsement of Latina, the launching of Hispanic consumer lists by Telemarketing and List/Database companies, all part of a boom in media initiatives for Hispanics. Since the 1970s, the number of publications for Hispanics has increased by 219 percent, and since 1990 Hispanic-oriented radio stations have doubled to 594 (Whisler and Nuiry 1998). At the same time, minority media ownership continued to decrease to its current low of 3 percent (Broadcasting and Cable 1998), and is likely to further decrease as a result of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was devised to increase competition by reducing ownership restrictions and hence increase media buyouts. A direct result of these developments is that Hispanic advertising is increasingly a transnational issue, where global and localized marketing forces intersect in the creation and sustenance of a Latina/Hispanic identity in this country. This situation has increasingly immersed Hispanic advertising agencies within the same structures that many sought either to change or provide an alternative for, and it has added pressures, restrictions, and layers to their production of Hispanic images in advertising. It is, of course, difficult to describe accurately the range of relationships between main agencies and their subsidiary Hispanic shops. In some cases, representatives of the Hispanic shops I spoke with asserted that they were able to maintain a measure of independence from their owners, that they were able to obtain independent accounts, and that this has even allowed for more diversity of clients or greater professional legitimacy vis-à-vis the advertising community at large. One account executive explained that "it makes a huge difference when we tell our clients that we enjoy the resources of the larger agency. We may end up having to fight to have access to those larger structures, but the name association helps our pitch." Most often, however, this situation has directly eroded the turf of the specialized Hispanic agencies, placing them in direct competition with the contacts and resources of the general market agencies as well as other Hispanic agencies. As an account executive who had resigned from a Hispanic agency after its merger with a transnational entity succinctly explained, "These big agencies are acquiring Hispanic agencies because it looks good politically, but what they really want to do is control the market. They are not going to let go of corporate monies; they want to keep it for themselves, and this is how they do it." This same informant complained about the peripheral position of the acquired Hispanic agencies within the larger entity, which, she claimed, never included them in their pitches to new clients, and often tried to develop an ad requested by a client for the Hispanic market without consulting the Hispanic agency, or else reduced its role to translating ads done by the main branch. She concluded that these mergers have added another layer of people that Hispanic advertisers have to "educate" about the Hispanic market: "We are constantly giving people lessons in Hispanic 101." Most agencies, however, are not complaining about the buyouts. At the annual meeting of the Association of Advertising agencies held in New York City in 1998, I even overheard discussions about how to make one's agency more attractive for potential buyouts, although in the late 1990s advertising conglomerates apparently prefer not to buy Hispanic shops, as they did in the 1980s, but to hire staff to lead Hispanic campaigns within their agencies, directly challenging the turf of the independent Hispanic advertising agency. This changing context has also triggered transformations in the Hispanic advertising industry. Until the 1970s, Hispanic advertisers recalled, they worked in a relatively informal environment. Lack of research was customary, and an almost "family like" environment existed among all Hispanic advertisers, who knew each other and worked in a competitive but nonetheless closely knit context. As Daisy Exposito, founder and still director of Bravo, one of the largest U.S. Hispanic agencies, recalled nostalgically, "When the people from Univision would come in to sell programs, it was not a sale but a reunion. They were all Latinas and muchachones [endearment for young men]. We would sit in an office to brainstorm about which advertiser could fund a new program. If my clients were not a good fit for a promotion, we would think of Castor (owner of Castor Advertising) or another agency. We were buddies, not competitors. These were certainly the most fun-filled years this industry has seen," she concluded, remembering the sense of camaraderie that was strengthened by ties of ethnicity and friendship among the first generation of mostly Cuban Hispanic advertisers. Today, the environment is more competitive, and agencies find themselves increasingly pressed to define their boundaries and differentiate themselves to assure not only their own survival, but that of ethnic and Hispanic marketing itself. In this context, advertising agencies are selling not only a market but also each other, against each other. Following the general tendency towards segmentation and specialization, Hispanic advertising agencies are now positioning themselves as experts in different regional markets or else distinguishing their strategies, tactics, methods, or expertise in different product categories or promotional strategies. In reality, however, the industry is becoming more and more uniform. Its nationwide growth has been accompanied by the downplaying of regional, geographical, and even cultural differences as criteria for the design of nationwide Hispanic campaigns. Additionally, a constant shift of staff from one Hispanic agency to another within and across regional markets has drawn the industry closer together. As stated by Al Aguilar, head of San Antonio--based Bromley Aguilar and 1998 president-elect of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, irrespective of the background of their creative staff, their geographic location, or their particularities, the main "talent" of Hispanic agencies is to bridge different backgrounds and nationalities. As he noted, Hispanic creatives are the first globalizers, long accustomed to generating representations of multiple nationalities; whether in New York, Los Angeles or Miami, the reference for any Hispanic agency is always the abstract ideal of "Hispanics" as an undifferentiated totality. The industry's growing consolidation is also evident in the formation of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies in 1997, the first trade organization for Hispanic advertising agencies. With a mission to help "grow, strengthen, and protect the Hispanic marketing and advertising industry by providing leadership in raising awareness of the value of the Hispanic market opportunities and enhancing the professionalism of the industry," this organization has gathered some of the most important Hispanic agencies nationwide with the common goal of expanding revenues within a larger and more competitive environment. In particular, the organization advocates the use of "specialists," such as the association's own member agencies, in light of the growing number of agencies and consultant companies that are now also seeking to target this market. And to make sure that it comprises only Hispanic agencies, full membership is open only to advertising agencies devoted solely to the Hispanic market. While some criticized the inclusion of Hispanic advertising divisions of general market agencies, these too were accepted as full members as long as they had 75 percent of total billing in the Hispanic market, employed a significant percentage (65 percent and over) of Hispanic staff, and offered full services in the Hispanic market. The importance of this exclusive emphasis on Hispanic agencies becomes clear when we consider that AHAA's inception has been accompanied by the growth of multicultural marketing groups, such as Vanguard in New York or Cultural Access Group (multicultural marketing research), which are targeting Hispanics alongside Asian Americans and African Americans and thus providing an alternative to Hispanic-centered initiatives. However, several trends in the general market are unlikely to be affected by formal organizations of Hispanic agencies. Though at a minimal rate when compared to the so-called general market, advertising expenditures in Hispanic marketing continue to rise- Hispanic Business reports that major advertisers are increasing their budgets to Hispanics (some at a rate of 400--700 percent), and that expenditures will reach $1.7 billion in 1998-but this money is being chased by a larger number of players and affected by larger advertising trends (Zate 1998a, 1988b). One of these involves the ongoing segmentation of the mainstream market, which is increasingly encroaching on the traditional boundaries of the ethnic-based category of Hispanic. An example is the popular appeal of urban youth styles and the rise of the categories of "urban markets" and "urban lifestyles" and their effects on the urban-centered yet ethnic core of Hispanic marketing. This trend has led to the cancellation of ethnic marketing departments by major advertisers such as Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing, who now see in an "urban youth style" an important commonality that bridges different ethnic and racial segments in the city (Minority Markets Alert 1997). Globalization also requires greater synergy between general market and ethnic efforts, which favors the hiring of shops that are part of larger transnational advertising conglomerates rather than independent Hispanic agencies. For their part, Hispanic advertisers are responding by positioning themselves as experts in both worlds, able to produce ads for Hispanics as well as the mainstream market, compared to mainstream agencies whose own closed-mindedness and prejudices, they argue, have made them irrelevant. Adapting ads from Hispanic shops for the mainstream market is still more of an exception than a rule, although the fact that Hispanic-made ads are generally 60 percent cheaper than mainstream ads is likely to facilitate the cross-over between markets. Meanwhile, the Latinization of mainstream America, evident in the popularization of Hispanic culture, language, and cultural icons as marketing tools and icons for mainstream audiences-the "salsa is beating ketchup" phenomenon-is also challenging the assumption that Hispanic culture is to be used exclusively to market to Hispanics. In the mainstream channels one can now hear rumba rhythms in Burger King ads, see soccer scenes and Salma Hayek advertising Pepsi and Revlon, and recoil at the infamous Chihuahua appealing to the Argentinean revolutionary Che Guevara in order to sell Taco Bell, along with other crossover ads that, with or without subtitles, are using Latinidad and things distinctively Hispanic to sell to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences. These developments involve a variety of old and new media, clients, and interests profiting from Hispanics and elaborating images of and for this market that are likely to challenge the traditional boundaries of Hispanic marketing. All these developments, however, are predicated on some definite ideas about the identity of the Hispanics who are being sold or sought as targets, and to these ideas I now turn. Excerpted from Latinos, Inc. by Arlene Dávila. Copyright (c) 2001 by the Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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