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Rolling Stone Pages Aimed at Latinos, Even the Ads

By: Andrew Adam Newman

ADVERTISING directed to Hispanics often runs in Spanish-language media outlets, but in what Rolling Stone says is a first in its 45-year history, the magazine is about to feature Spanish ads in a special section.

The Nov. 22 issue, with a cover featuring Daniel Craig (as James Bond), has a secondary cover on the back page, also featuring the Rolling Stone nameplate but with cover lines entirely in Spanish and featuring the performer Pitbull.

The Pitbull cover opens to a 15-page section, Latin Hot List, which features artists and performers including Calle 13, the Puerto Rican rap group, and Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author who was born in the Dominican Republic.

The issue, available on newsstands Friday, has articles written in English with interview sidebars in Spanish — and no translations.

Among Hispanic adults in the United States, 28 percent speak only Spanish and 15 percent speak only English, with a majority speaking both, according to Nielsen. While 28 percent speak mostly Spanish and 25 percent mostly English, 4 percent of Hispanics speak both languages equally.

“The whole idea of the content being in both English and Spanish is that the acculturated Latino is using both Spanish and English in the house and outside of the house,” said Matt Mastrangelo, the publisher of Rolling Stone.

Pitbull, whose Twitter posts and Facebook updates switch frequently between the languages, is himself “living the life that straddles both Spanish and English,” Mr. Mastrangelo said.

The section grew from discussions between Mr. Mastrangelo and representatives of Lápiz, Chicago, a multicultural agency that is part of the Leo Burnett division of the Publicis Groupe.

“At first there was some conversation between us and Rolling Stone, about doing events and parties,” said Gustavo Razzetti, executive vice president and managing director at Lápiz. “And then we had a conversation about what if instead of doing a party we did an issue about showing the influence of Latino music through not only top sellers like J. Lo or Shakira, but also emerging bands and new talent.”

Advertisers and agencies increasingly are moving beyond what Mr. Razzetti called a silo approach — where ads aimed at Hispanic consumers run only in Spanish-language media — and placing ads in general media, too.

“Latinos are reading the main version of Rolling Stone,” said Mr. Razzetti. Among Rolling Stone readers, 17 percent are Hispanic, according to GfK MRI audience research cited by the magazine.

Three advertisers in the section, Bounty, Charmin and Gain, are Procter & Gamble brands for which Lápiz is the Hispanic agency of record. For each brand, ads were created specifically for the section.

The Bounty ad shows a boy playing an electronic guitar so animatedly that he spills a glass of milk that will need to be cleaned up. Above the tagline that Bounty uses in its general advertising, “Bring it,” are the Spanish words, “Que vengan los derrames.” (“Let the spills begin.”)

A text-only ad in English for Charmin consists of eight paragraphs about the importance of bathroom reading, under the headline, “The number one read for your number two moment.” Turn the page, and the same full-page ad is translated into Spanish. (“Tu lectura numero uno para tus memento numéro dos.”)

A two-page spread for a Gain ad features an intricate illustration of hundreds of concertgoers at an outdoor music festival, and readers are directed, in Spanish only, to scratch and sniff the ad to find the audience member with the freshest-smelling shirt, which, thanks to scented ink, smells like Gain.

With a readership that is 60 percent male, Rolling Stone has not tended to draw advertising from household brands that are directed at mothers, and this issue is the first time any toilet paper or paper towel brand has advertised in the magazine. A laundry detergent brand last ran in 2001.

Gain spent 30.9 percent of its total $32.1 million advertising expenditures in the United States on Spanish-language media in 2011, according to data from the Kantar Media unit of WPP. Charmin spent 24 percent of its $80.5 million on Spanish-language media; Bounty spent 19.6 percent of $73.4 million. The only non-P.& G. advertiser in the section, Garnier Fructis, a L’Oréal brand, spent 11.3 percent of its $111.2 million.

According to Nielsen, Procter & Gamble topped the list of advertisers in Spanish-language media in 2011, spending $225.6 million, followed by Bancorp, $193.1 million; Dish Network, $160 million; and McDonald’s, $131.2 million.

Sundar Raman, marketing director for North American fabric care at Procter & Gamble, said that Gain has grown substantially in the last two decades and that “the U.S. Hispanic consumer has really been the underpinning for the growth.”

Mr. Raman said that unlike most detergents, whose primary selling point is cleaning efficacy, Gain emphasizes its scents, which include Apple Mango Tango, Sweet Sizzle and Dreamy Desire.

“Gain scents are more expressive, more emotional, and it just so happens that both Hispanics and African-Americans are more predisposed to scents being more experiential,” Mr. Raman said.

Appearing in Rolling Stone reflects the brand growing less focused on mothers with its advertising. Gain took the unusual step in a recent television commercial of featuring a male user who, after he washes his shirt with Gain, is followed into a revolving door by six people trying to smell him.

“I would like to broaden the target from moms to the U.S. Hispanic population,” Mr. Raman said.

Asked whether he considered the ad in the bilingual Rolling Stone section to be in a Spanish-language or general publication, Mr. Raman replied, “Those distinctions are blurring as we speak.”

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