Does This Idea Make Sense in Spanglish?
The officer at the Airport Customs saw the “O 1” Visa in my Brazilian passport and in order to check it he said, “What does this Visa stand for?” I explained that it is a Visa granted for people who have extraordinary talent in media and arts. And he goes, “Extraordinary talent in arts? What do you do, you paint like Picasso?” I don’t know what Picasso would have said about that, but he definitely could have said it in Spanish… or Spanglish. I could have told the officer that my talent comes from being in the advertising business in Brazil and Latin America for 20 years, and that during this period I’ve worked with most brands and have gained and won both experience and prizes internationally, but he wouldn’t have cared. Maybe you, who are reading me right now, wouldn’t either. So let’s go back. Well, this Spanish/English mix is mostly what brought me to the States. I am here because I find it extremely exciting to work in a market within a market, a culture within a culture. I am really enjoying the chance to take part in something that is not only about how to help a brand communicate to its target, but also how to help the same brand communicate to so many different targets and still be the same brand. It’s been three months since I joined Wing, the Grey Group agency that focuses on the Latino market and which, by itself, already makes us a culture within a culture. I often find myself in meetings with people from Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Panama, Cuba, England– yes, our Head of Production comes from England, but to honor the multicultural tradition, was raised in Australia. On top of that, and I really mean the top, our CEO was born in Canada to a French father and Dutch mother, and has lived in many Latin American countries for his work, married a Puerto Rican and has been taking care of everything from New York. If you are overwhelmed already, don’t be. I am only talking about the people at Wing. Let me tell you about our target: the consumers, the people out there we have to reach. They come from all parts of the world, including Brooklyn, Queens, El Barrio, Astoria, Texas, LA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, all the countries in and out, speaking so many different kinds of Spanish and bringing up so many stories that it would make Salvador Dali (just to name another Spanish artist) really overwhelmed. But it is not surreal. As a matter of fact, the US Hispanic market is a reality that affects the whole country and goes beyond the share-of-market kind of thing. It is cultural and affects all of us living here. Take the language for instance. “Spanglish” is practically an official language. In some places, sometimes it’s difficult to speak English and even if we try, there’s always someone willing to speak Spanish to you. Restaurants, hotels, stores, schools, TV channels, call centers and even vending machines are bilingual. I’ve been telling my friends in Brazil to come to the U.S.: it’s the best place to learn Spanish. Another Hispanic aspect that I am really enjoying in this new market is the food. I hear that never before could you have tried so many kinds of Latin food, not only in restaurants, but also in American houses, who are liking the fact that they can twist their day-to-day recipes with some Latino touch. I remember coming to the U.S. some years ago (I won’t say “decades” because I don’t want to reveal my age), when you could only find a few places where you could get “Mexican food.” You want to talk numbers? Well, I don’t dare say the currency will change, and you know creatives are not really good with numbers, but I am sure that growth in the American economy relies on the Hispanic market. Which takes me back to what actually brought me here in the first place: the chance to learn this whole new language, the language of communicating to the US Hispanic Culture. And to get to do it, I am using much more than a dictionary. More than learning Spanish, I’ve been practicing how to listen to what they actually say. More than reading grammar and verb tenses, I’ve been studying their stories. Instead of trying to guess what they mean, I’ve been asking again and again, to make sure I understand it. Because I really think that a good idea is something that really speaks to the people I want to talk to. Do you want to help me? Send me your idea of the Latino culture: email@example.comIf you want to learn more about the culture yourself, I have some suggestions just to begin with around the New York City area:
- El Museo del Barrio New York
- Hispanic Society of America
- Museums by Neighborhood and Subject
- National Museum of the American Latino Commission: Public …
- National Latino Museum Plan Faces Fight – New York Times
- Identity & Community: A Look at Four Latino Museums