What Alternate Disney Latino World Is This? Not One That Resonates With Us

Oct 12, 2012
10:44 AM

We would think that this following ad from Disney World Latino (yes, people there is now a Disney World Latino) will play well to the mainstream. But here we go again: look at us! Dancing! Singing! We are different! Flaunting our "Latino-ness." Because it is Hispanic Heritage Month! When will campaigns such as these just stop and realize that we are so much more than this?

Yes, we know, there is a market for this, at least that is what we are being told by industry insiders. And yes, we know that in that world, this ad will be celebrated and people will be patting themselves on the back for a job well done. We also think that such an ad would appeal to Latin Americans who travel to Orlando or first-generation Spanish-dominant consumers who can't miss their telenovelas. It just doesn't appeal to us, and we would venture to guess that others might feel the same.

But hear us out for a minute, since this type of advertising is just yet another example of how brands and agencies continue to "Latin-nize" everything. By doing so, you run the risk of segregating a growing part of your market. Instead of seeing Latinos as customers just like everyone else, we are now seen as special and different. (And for all the detractors and cynics who will call us hypocrites since our page says "Latino" on our site, we see it differently: we use our site to try and redefine the US Latino world, not cater to what the mainstream continues to shill out to the masses.)

Consider this: what would the reaction be if Walt Disney were to create a Walt Disney World Black page? Come on, Black people, let's all dance and sing our way into Disney World! Or a Walt Disney Asian Page? Walt Disney Irish? Walt Disney for Jewish people? We really doubt that such ads would ever make it to the pitch stage, but why does a "Latino" ad that basically focuses on just one stale and overused stereotype get approved? When will agencies that work for brands like Disney actually start pushing more responsible content? Yes, we get it. Latinos are fun. Latinos like to dance. Latinos like to party. Latinos also like to work at Disney. Now what? How do we get away from being the "special" group?

We know, we know, this is Disney. The mass media giant is all about gloss. It creates an alternative reality that in the end doesn't reflect actual reality. Just looking at how the brand continues to fail in its diversity offerings across all it platforms confirms it. But when it finally tries to appeal to a different audience, we get Latino cheese with tourists and happy Disney employees who happen to be Latino. Fail. 

We are not saying that Walt Disney shouldn't market to Latinos. That is not the point. What we are saying is this: just dig deeper. Challenge the norms. Take risks, Instead of the singing and dancing, add a bit more authenticity. Go beyond the surface. Balance it with other approaches, especially those that cater to other experiences and perspectives from other sectors of US Latino market. This Walt Disney Latino ad would play better in the Univision/Telemundo world (and maybe that was the intent because did anyone see any Afro Latinos in this ad?) than it would it in a Latino market that is more diverse, more complex, and just tired of the same advertising themes being regurgitated over and over again.

The time to redefine the "Latino brand" in the United States is now. We can all do better to make this happen. Enough with the forced Latinization of brands that don't need to be Latinized. If it fits, then it makes sense. If it doesn't, don't force it. It just comes out as lame and turns off parts of the very same market you are trying to attract.

BTW, we tend to agree with Mi blog es tu blog.  Maybe the ad just needed a better cumbia.