Pharma unlocks new demographic

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Spanish-language network TV ad spend nearly tripled in 2009, while its cable spend quadrupled. What happened? Did pharmas just discover these demographics, and will we see continued investment going forward?

Guy Garcia,
Mentametrix, Inc

Marketers and advertisers are beginning to realize the size and importance of US Hispanic markets, which represent nearly a trillion dollars in spending power, and are an increasingly important part of their overall growth strategy. Spanish language broadcast and cable is particularly good at reaching US-born Latinos and immigrants with strong cultural ties to Latin American countries and culture, often with programming that is created in Latin America. As multicultural consumer markets in the US continue to expand, cable and Internet platforms will be well-positioned to capture bi-cultural Hispanics who consume media in both languages and toggle between niche cable content and broadcast TV programs that reflect and appeal to their interests, passions and trans-national identities.

David Henry,
President and CEO,
TeleNoticias, LLC

I'm not sure it's a case of pharma just discovering the Hispanic market, but it may be that they are finally paying attention. The fact remains that there are huge opportunities in the Hispanic market for pharma companies and have been for years. I think some are finally realizing that there are big dollars at stake. If you mix that with the impending 2010 Census results due later this year, it's not hard to see huge opportunity. I do think that there will be increased investment from pharma in Spanish-language media, as their spend to date has been fairly small. My advice for pharma is to move quickly and put their stake in the ground.

Carlos Santiago,
President and chief strategist,
Santiago ROI

Hispanics total more than 46 million, nearing the majority minority in the country with buying power of nearly $1 trillion, and yet on average, DTC spending in the industry has been minimal. In fact, AHAA's Hispanic Marketing Investment Trends report indicates that pharmas still “don't get it,” with parent companies allocating only 2% of advertising budgets to Hispanics last year down from 2.4% in 2008. Sixty-eight percent of all Hispanics have health insurance including 50% of foreign-born Latinos. Even after adjusting for this Hispanics should be receiving about 7- 10% of pharma's media spend, and when you take into account higher incidence of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, HIV/AIDS, asthma, and some cancers the investment should be three to five times what it is today.

Sheila Thorne
President & CEO,
Multicultural Healthcare Marketing Group

Between 1990 and 2000, the U.S. Hispanic population grew more than four times as fast as the population as a whole. Hispanic consumers are now driving forces and driving the market in most of the country's largest urban centers. Hispanics—especially in younger age groups—will make up an increasingly large portion of the US population as we approach the middle of the century. There is no doubt that the explosive growth of the US Hispanic/Latino population has captured the attention of the pharmaceutical industry thus accounting for the significant increase in television ad spend which will likely continue unabated.
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