MasterCard Preps Hispanic Push

PURCHASE, N.Y. MasterCard is launching a Hispanic marketing and education initiative promoting the use of its debit and pre-paid products. While the Hispanic population and its buying power has been rapidly on the rise, the segment is still a relatively untapped market for the card issuer, as Hispanics tend to prefer using cash and checks to plastic.

“Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., representing about 15 percent of the total population, according to the U.S. Census,” said Chris Jogis, svp, U.S. consumer marketing at MasterCard. “But they’re much more used to cash, and in this campaign we are showing and educating them about the benefits of electronic payments.”

The MasterCard pitch includes a new 30-second Spanish-language “Priceless” commercial, “Quebradita,” which focuses on how consumers can better manage money through the use of debit and prepaid cards. (This is also the first time MasterCard has advertised prepaid cards on TV.) Two dancers are performing the Quebradita — translated as “little break” — an acrobatic Latin-American dance style known by its Western clothing, hat tricks and flips. As they dance, their cash flies everywhere, causing audience members to duck. The spot illustrates the message that prepaid is an easy and secure way to pay, rather than fumbling with cash. Spending support behind the campaign was not disclosed.
McCann Erickson, New York, handled creative development.

The commercial will be shown in 11 key U.S. Hispanic markets in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, New York and Illinois. In addition to TV, MasterCard is using Spanish-language radio ads, as well as out-of-home and online advertising.

“As we look to continue to bring value to Hispanic consumers, it is important for MasterCard to be speaking in their language in channels that are relevant to them,” said Jogis, who added that MasterCard has used targeted-Hispanic advertising since 2000.

MasterCard is augmenting its mass-media push with a community approach that promotes financial literacy at a grass-roots level, taking the effort into cash-driven businesses like check-cashing centers and laundromats.

MasterCard is also working in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, sponsor of the Hispanic Heritage Awards and Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, and Spanish-language media company Univision, which will draw upon its on-air talent to create a financial education series.

During this difficult economic environment, Jogis said MasterCard’s broader underlying marketing emphasis in the “Priceless” campaign is “outsmarting the times.”

He added: “Value doesn’t just mean saving money; it means the convenience you get through electronic payments.”