Jake Beniflah Talks About The Big Shift To Multicultural Media And AdvertisingJanuary 25, 2021
Get ready for seismic changes in multicultural media and advertising, says Dr. Jake Beniflah. Changing demography, emerging technologies and fragmenting distribution systems are transforming the media and advertising industries. Yet marketing to U.S. Hispanics continues to lag, says Beniflah, executive director of the Center for Multicultural Science, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research think tank.
He argues multicultural plans should be placed at the center of mainstream advertising in The Big Shift: Redefining Marketing in a Multicultural America (Center for Multicultural Science, 2020). The author talks about his newly-released book in this interview, which has been edited for clarity and length.
The primary tactic for reaching U.S. Hispanics used to be language, specifically Spanish. Then, the conventional wisdom said culture was all-important. You suggest taking a different approach.
An automotive industry client asked me how to drive media return on investment. I wanted to help and started thinking about ways to deconstruct the model. The notion of all Latinos having a Spanish language or cultural preference — to me, these are generalizations that have been applied to the entire Hispanic population.
I’m an immigrant, even though I don’t have an accent. I’ve been here since I was seven. Not every person who’s foreign born has the same experience as an immigrant, but I do share the immigrant experience. I started questioning whether language is the variable that defines Hispanic marketing and began looking at different variables that would simplify the discussion.