This Sunday’s Grammy Awards program is expected to include the first Spanish-only advertisement during a national English-language television network broadcast.
Procter & Gamble Co. believes its Spanish-only Crest toothpaste ad will help the company “connec[t] with Hispanic consumers.” P&G should have consulted Tamar Jacoby, even if she is no fan of English First:
[I]t’s not true, as Univision claims, that Spanish-language TV is the best or only way to reach U.S. Latinos. On the contrary, most of them speak English well or very well. What’s more, in contrast to what a growing chorus of Spanish-language marketers will tell you, much of the Hispanic population prefers English and English-language media. Yet thanks in part to companies such as Univision – which, like the marketers, has a stake in encouraging companies to spend on Spanish-language advertising – the myth that immigrants don’t speak English is taking root across the land.
These politically correct ads also have a nasty habit of backfiring, as the California Milk Advisory Board learned
. After all, people who don’t speak English aren’t usually watching English-language television. People who do speak English and see a Spanish-only ad get the message, “this doesn’t concern you. Go make yourself a sandwich.”