Tag Archives: Stereotypes

SIesta

The Siesta

What: Agency New Business pitch at Fortune 500 company.

Who: Agency top brass, including owner-founder, and possible Client’s CMO and entourage.

Where:  Potential Client’s headqarters in a location on the opposite coast.

Background: The Agency had hustled to get into the pitch and when the news arrived it had “made the cut”, the mood was celebratory.

The decision was made to bring in the big guns. Deliver a killer presentation and land the account in this meeting.

Rewrites, reviews, rehearsals were crammed into a tight schedule and then an early bird flight took everyone to the meeting.

One final drill.

The meeting started  right after lunch, all seated around a rectangular table.

Bad luck had it that it was hot, the Agency was facing a window, the shades didn’t quite close well and a warm blinding light proved a major annoyance.

Was the Agency’s resilience being tested?

Bad luck also had it that the owner/founder was no longer his once- bright energetic self and he started to doze off as credentials were presented, the buying habits of Latinos were discussed, the brand loyalty brought from the old country was emphasized.

And then came the research report which, following the standard practice of the days, was loaded with generalizations. “Latinos are this way. And that way. And like this. And so on a so forth”.

It seemed as if the meeting would never end, the presenters fact acquired a meaningless monotonous cadence.

At the precise moment this blogger was tuning out, a loud snore broke through the singsong of Latino truisms.

All eyes turned toward the founder/owner and, to everyone’s horror, it became evident that he was sound asleep.

Comments the CMO: “I guess Siestas are still part of the culture”.

Long, silent trip back across the continent.

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Batshit over Banana Chips

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.

tumblr_mpq4njWXyP1qhtij5o1_400In 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.

giphy-1This 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.

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