In those early days of marketing to Hispanics, convincing potential clients about the need to put some dollars behind those markets was a major challenge.
To that end, agencies did what agencies do: Use every possible argument, package it as attractiveley as possible to gain attention.
A favorite approach — and one that many today would swear proved effective — was to portray latinos just as others saw us: A hybrid between Speedy Gonzales and Qué Pasa USA.
Accents were encouraged; dress code ran the opposite direction of Dress for Success guidelines for Latinos (no shiny suits, pointed shoes or paper thin mustaches); people spoke in generalizations: “Latinos do […] Hispanics like […] We are […]
Against that framework, one prominent agency leader was invited to speak at a major advertising conference.
And to deliver he speech in those pre-Power Point days she chose the banana metaphor.
In a very heavy accent, she spoke of banana boats full of people that came to the US, brought their brand-loyalty, were family-oriented, fully-appreciative of : Simple-minded, noble savages ready to part with their dollars for those marketers who bothered with a limited advertising investment.
This investment, said the Agency Executive in a euphoric speech, somewhere between a political “pronunciamiento”, a eulogy and a Sunday Sermon, would mean more banana chips for the marketers.
And as she delivered her rousing final line, she would throw up in the air bags of what else but banana chips.
At least two younger agency people, graduates of prestigious MBA programs, resigned their jobs and chose instead to seek fame, fortune and future elsewhere.