Advertisers See Need for a 'Spanglish' Pitch Key Target: English-Speaking Hispanics

Article excerpt

Christy Haubegger can't hide her delight. It's not just the excited rush of conversation pouring forth from the young publisher. It's the numbers: the premier issue of Latina, her bilingual magazine aimed at Hispanic women, hit the streets last week with an initial printing of 300,000 copies - a startling number for a debut.

To Ms. Haubegger, who as a child adopted by Anglo parents was encouraged to cherish her Hispanic heritage, the big launch confirms the importance of a long-underserved market.

"Nobody knew we existed till the 1990 census," she says. But Hispanics are the nation's fastest growing minority group. By 2050, 1 in 4 Americans will be Hispanic, the Census Bureau predicts.

Currently, 27 million American Hispanics wield more than $225 billion a year in buying power, from cosmetics to baby products. But only in this decade has the business world begun to take notice.

"We get 1/17th of the junk mail. We answer solicitation phone calls and talk to people because no one's talking to us," Haubegger says.

They're talking now. In two languages.

Though the majority of Latinos in the United States are believed to be bilingual, only 17 million reported speaking Spanish at home, according to the Census Bureau. And with the Hispanic population projected to triple by 2050, the new generations born here are likely to speak English under the ever-present pressure to assimilate into American society. Further, English-dominant Hispanics tend to be younger, more affluent, and more educated than their Spanish-speaking brethren.

Advertisers are taking notice of both markets. Ad revenues at the nation's more than 1,500 Spanish-language and bilingual publications and radio and television stations were estimated at more than $1.2 billion last year.

For its Versa Training campaign, Reebok has billboards and magazine ads delivered in English but featuring the smiling face of past gold-medal swimmer Dara Torres. …