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DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-66-2011-942-482-504-EN | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS # 66 | 2011

Multicultural Marketing in Spain; perspectives on communications directed at immigrant population groups

Isidoro Arroyo-Almaraz, Ph. D. [C.V.] Professor of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising. Department of Comunication I. Rey Juan Carlos University. Madrid. Spain -

Cliff Van-Wyk, M Sc, FCIM [C.V.] Senior Lecturer in Advertising & Marketing, Corporate and Marketing Communications, Media School, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom -

Abstract: Cultural differences among immigrants demand differentiated strategies from  marketers. This research aims at defining multicultural marketing within national boundaries, detailing how it has been studied and succesfully implemented by  leading practitioners. Two research methods are utilised in this study- the first is heuristic (since it makes use of secondary data); the second is qualitative, based on data derived from case study. This research on cultural differences shows that differences become bigger depending on the profile of that culture that integrates others. Results show that individuals do not go through their lives with just one cultural reference. On the contrary, they get in and out of different cultures. Therefore, advertising needs to focus on integrated and combined campaign

Keywords: Multicultural Marketing; immigrants; Spain; case study; cultural studies.

Sumary: 1. Introduction. 2. Methodological and procedural design. 3. Results. 4. Discussion and Conclusions. 5. Bibliographic References. 6. Notes

Translation by Clifford Van-Wyck (Centre for Public Communication
Research. The Media School, Bournemouth University).

1. Introduction

Over the past twenty years, population profiles in most developed, and many developing, nations have undergone dramatic transformation. Urbanisation, population mobility, feminism, ageism and political change are just some of the reasons that demographics bear little resemblance to what they were a relatively short time ago.

1.1. Purpose of the investigation

Cultural diversity presents a challenge, but also a major business opportunity. As Ignacio García posits (2009:44): "Immigrants as a group offer different business opportunities. They form part of a reality that we have to accept and celebrate”.
As its population ages, Europe has to support immigration. The purpose of this investigation is to define the challenges that this situation presents to the world of business and, in particular, to brand marketers.

We now hear and see the terms Ethnic, Multicultural, Diversity, Transnational, Multinational, Global, and a host of others, but in essence they all describe the practice of marketing across a number of target groups, made distinctive by their cultural or sub-cultural characteristics, or geographic locations.

Immigrant life is a reality that has to be both embraced and celebrated. With its ageing population, Europe has to encourage immigration – there are no options. Why? One of the obvious solutions, therefore, is a proactive migration policy.

Because the population of Europe,in the absence of any immigration, is ageing and decreasing. According to a projection by the UN, the total EU population will fall from 472 million in 2005 to 415 million by 2020, a decrease of 12%. Furthermore, there will be an increase in the population of people aged 65 years and over, of 68% in the same time period. Tax burdens, social services, pensions and healthcare would be in crisis as evidenced by the different proposals for pension reforms in European countries.

In some European countries, this has already occurred. In Luxembourg, the foreign-born population is 40%, in Germany and Austria it is at 12%, and in Switzerland it is 22%. In the UK, 7.9% of the population is of Asian and African descent. London itself has become a truly cosmopolitan city, and in the suburb of Lambeth, over 60 languages are spoken, each by at least 250 people. Within 30 years, over half the boroughs in London will be populated in the majority by communities that are currently regarded as ethnic minorities.

1.2. Aims of this investigation

This investigation defines the new territory opened by multicultural marketing for some organizations, and evaluates how this has been widely researched and successfully implemented by many leading global marketers.

In Spain, immigration has resulted in a significant new consumer demographic. According to the National Statistics Institute in Spain, the Municipal Register of Immigrants: Census of Population and Housing, immigration in Spain is 12% of the population enumerated in the period 1981-2009. [1]

Spain has the highest rate of recent immigration in Europe, and is second of all developed countries, the highest being the USA. During the 80's immigrant population grew very slowly to reach the figure of 233,000 new residents, representing 0.9% of total population. In the decade after immigration came to represent 1.9% of the Spanish population with a population increase of 750,000 people. But from 1999 to 2008 the immigrant population has grown by 500,000 people per year in 2009 reaching the figure of 5.6 million people, with uneven growth in terms of its origin. Thus, the immigrant population has grown in this period has been from European countries, mainly from Eastern Europe and particularly in Romania (758,823 or 13.4%), the least is has grown from African countries , noting that from Morocco with a figure of 627,858 or 11.1% represents the second nationally in number of immigrants.

In between are the populations from Latin American and Asian countries. Among Latin American populations have increased its national first, the Ecuadorian immigration 409,328 people or 7.2%, Colombia's second with a population of 296,674 or 5.2%, in third place with 223,455 new Bolivian residents or 4% and Argentina's fourth with a census population 195,572 or 3.4%. The Asian population has increased its population due to recent immigrants from China and Pakistan. (Ferrero, 2010: 96-98).

The majority of this new population falls into the age range between 16 and 45 years, the gender split is 53% male to 47% female, with an average education profile higher than the average for the indigenous Spanish population.

The Foundation of Business and Society [2] predicts that by the year 2015, the immigrant population in Spain will rise to 8 million, equating to 36 % of the economically active population, and 16 % of the total Spanish population, which is predicted to reach 50 million in that year. This report also reveals that, even assuming the worst economic scenario, the Spanish economy will need an average of 157,000 new employees every year to sustain the status quo.

This demand for ‘new labour’ by the Spanish economy is symptomatic of the ageing of the Spanish population, resulting in a fundamental change to the nature of the consumer landscape. Predictions for 2020 are that the population within the age range 16 to 39 will decrease from the current 15,8 million to 11 million. In this same time period, the population within the range 40 to 64 years will increase from the current 13,4 million to 17 million.

According to TNSWorld panel [3], the total annual spending power of this immigrant segment is estimated at 40 billion euros. This equates to 12 972 euros per capita. Of that amount, 3 700 euros is allocated to basic living expenses and the balance (9 272 euros) is utilised for rent and other items such as clothing, cars and related expenses, and mobile phones.

Figure 1 Process of cultural integration of the immigrant population.

Source: Hall, N. It's no more them and us - it's only us. 2006. Esomar Research: Global Diversity, London.

1.3.  Multicultural Marketing: a current scenario

Culture is defined as the learned behaviours of a people that come from traditions passed on from generation to generation. It is manifested in how people dress, what they eat, what they listen to, their religion, their entertainment, and how they act, think and look at the world. The question for marketers is: “How does culture influence consumer behaviour in response to brand messages?”

And, typically, marketers would be concerned with how their communications efforts address the attitudes, motives, perceptions and lifestyles that make up a particular culture (or subculture).

The challenges that face marketers are twofold: First, to identify and understand the range of audiences they wish to address and second to develop overall strategies and methodologies for how they can effect communication messages in ways that resonate with, and have relevance to, these audiences. It is the intensity of a cultural trait, or traits, that will determine the extent to which it is addressed, and the degree to which marketers need to effect differentiated communications.

These culturally embedded traits affect brand message strategies differently in each country or group. Messages would be evaluated like a part of SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat)

1.3.1. Commercial brand message strategies in Spain

In Spain, Multicultural or Ethnic  Marketing is defined as the activity/ies adopted by the business sector, aimed specifically at consumers that fall predominantly into the four biggest ‘source areas’ of immigrant groups: Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Grande Esteban (2004) talks about the term cross-cultural Marketing when refers to culture as a differentiation marketing strategy.

In order to reach this immigrant population, Isabel Garcia (Arroyo y Martín, 2009, 121) identified four main factors that have to be taken into account, based on the research she conducted: emotive, economic, structural and cultural.

The emotive factor is determined mainly by the ‘strength of feeling’ immigrants have of rootlessness, and the affinity they have to their countries or regions of origin. As an example, 70 % of the Chinese immigrant population hails from the region of Zhejiang. These immigrants tend to concentrate in residential areas, such as the neighbourhood of Lavapiés in Madrid. This has resulted in employment practices and shop profiles (restaurants, markets and discount stores) that replicate those of their region of origin.

The economic factor is determined by immigrants having, in general, less acquisitive power but a greater degree of work ethic. The Chinese again provide an appropriate example to illustrate this point, as manifested in their typically dynamic and enterprising approach.

In the initial stages of their settlement in Spain, the primary activity was to establish traditional catering and restaurant businesses, aimed at the non- Chinese population. Once this approached saturation point, they then diversified and concentrated on investment in the clothing sector, developing networks of clothing and fashion stores, shoe outlets and gift shops under the banner of "Everything for a Euro"

The structural factor refers to the effort that immigrants make, due to their capacity to save and suffer. The price factor is the most influential in their shopping motivations. This factor also determines the choices they make in terms of the types of shops they patronize (in descending order of preference): shopping malls, supermarkets and discount shops. At the same time, it also affects the perception of brands (private label brands are considered to have the same quality as conventional brands as they are perceived to be produced by the same manufacturers). Latin Americans are less brand dependant than immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Africans typically display the highest rate of savings.

The cultural factor refers to the tendency that immigrants have to maintain their customs and traditional values. The Moroccan population bases its everyday and socialising habits on strong religious beliefs. Among the cultural features that determine behaviour are: primacy of group above individual, belongingness to a community (and even, to a specific region), the ethnic composition: e.g. Arabic or Bereber, and finally their holy days and special ceremonies (e.g. Ramadaan

1.3.2. Shared human values in diverse countries

There are also basic values that have been proven to be shared by people in a wide variety of culturally diverse countries, and can therefore be assumed to be universal in character.Different from Kant´s ethic. Before going on to explore cultural differences, it is necessary to backtrack slightly and draw reference to a multi-country research exercise that was conducted in this regard in 1992. Under the leadership of Shalom Schwartz (De-Mooij, M., 2005)this research allowed for the construction of numerous value typologies. The 10 values identified in this study, were:

  1. Achievement. Enjoying personal success, and being regarded as capable, ambitious, intelligent, and influential.
  2. Benevolence. The preservation and enhancement of the welfare of one’s family and friends. Honesty, loyalty and helpfulness
  3. Conformity. Self-discipline, obedience and politeness
  4. Hedonism. Enjoying life and receiving pleasure.
  5. Power. The attainment of social status and prestige
  6. Security. The longing for safety, harmony, and the stability of society.
  7. Self-direction. The desire for freedom, independence, creativity.
  8. Stimulation. Derived from the need for variety and achieving an exciting life
  9. Tradition. Respect, commitment and the acceptance of the customs that one’s culture and religion impose
  10. Universalism. The motivation to understand, appreciate, tolerate and protect the welfare of all people and nature

Whilst these values might well pertain, at least in some part, to all peoples across the world, both research (Arroyo y Mamic, 2009: 8-23) and experience (Van-Wyk, 2009: 67-68) have shown, indisputably, that differences necessitate strategic variations by marketers wishing to reach diverse cultures and communities effectively.

1.4. Investigation hypotheses

H.1.- Marketing communications effected in multicultural audiences show that cultural differences are greater than similarities.

H.2.- Multicultural marketing communications in countries of high cultural profile are based on strategies of largely non-verbal and indirect communication.

H.3.- Multicultural marketing communications in countries of low cultural profile are based on strategies of largely verbal and direct communication.

H.4.- Each group of immigrants in Spain has its own distinct identity which has to be acknowledged by marketers, necessitating the development of appropriate strategies for each of these cultural groups.

2. Methodological and procedural design

The methodology used here responds to two combined approaches: a heuristic one, which establishes the starting point for the analysis of the cultural differences between various immigrant groups in Spain. The study which was used as supporting evidence for the contents of the III Annuary of the Immigrant Communication in Spain, in which the researcher Isidoro Arroyo took part: "Analysis of the Media for Immigrants". General Summary EMI 2008. Reference Investigation: Acnielsen, 2008.Research on advertising funds in interactive media IAB Spain 2008. [4]

A second study was conducted by researcher Cliff Van Wyk, and was developed in accordance with the five steps described by Yin (1994): 1.Lay out of the case study; study development: preparation for gathering of data; 3. case study: gathering of data; 4. analysis of the case study and, 5. case study report.

Therefore, different methods of investigation have been used: heuristic and particular case studies Unilever soap brands Omo, Persil, Skip.

The advantages of utilising different investigative methods, one heuristic and another experimental, resulted in the ability to derive a balanced response to the different objectives in this investigation because it provided different viewpoints and perceptions, richer and more varied than those that could have been reached in the case of a single methodological approach.

2.1. Cultural Differences as Influences

The subject of culture is made complex because of its multi-faceted nature and dimensions; not only across borders or regions, but also in countries where there is the presence of significant cultural and/or ethnic minorities.

Edward Hall (1997) classified countries as being either ‘high’ or ‘low’ context. The distinction reflects the extent to which context – the non-verbal elements surrounding a message - carries meaning and is a significant part of the message in a culture.

A low-context culture, such as the United States, is one in which emphasis is placed on words, directness, and time. A high-context culture, such as France, Spain and Japan, is one in which meaning is determined by nonverbal cues, social relationships and indirect communication (e.g. metaphors).

However, in public campaigns aimed at the integration of immigrants, what has become evident is that immigrants prefer campaigns in verbal codes since this is, as Martínez Pastor and Vizcaíno-Laorga stated (2008:90) "all about giving immigrants their own voice."

Figure 2 how advertising ideas influence commercial products


Source:Hall, N. (2006) It's no more them and us - it's only us.. Esomar Research: Global Diversity, London

Geert Hofstede (2003), analyses components of culture for use in developing brand messages Another approach developed by. Based on research conducted in 50 countries, he identified four basic culture components: Power distance: hierarchical versus egalitarian, Uncertainty avoidance: tolerance of risk, Collectivism versus individualism, Feminine versus masculine.

Grande-Esteban (2004) talks of the anthropological dimensions of culture and refers to, amongst others, cutural taboos. An example of these are communications that are targeted at the Muslim world or other asiatic cultures, such as the Axe campaign (directed by Adrian Holmes, Global Creative Director of the Lowe Group) in Saudi Arabia. This campaign did not include any scenes of a sexual nature, or those featuring young men and women pictured together. In its place, use was made of visual metaphors to demonstrate the 'Axe effect': the positioning of a pencil in the middle of a leaf, electrical plugs and sockets, and nuts and screws.

It points out, same as Geert Hofstede, the masculine-feminine dimension; fright-risk and equality-hierarchy. Moreover, the temporal dimension brings the Eastern and Western cultures face to face, in terms of its concern for the future. Additionally, it is highlighted of some so-called imitation cultures, compared to the discovery cultures. For example, in Nordic countries, these communications are not successful in shaping behaviour by the use of celebrities. Nevertheless, these tactics are very useful in effecting communications in Latin American countries.

Figure 3 Cultural factors that intervene in the effectiveness
of communication of commercial brands


Source: Hofstede, G. Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and
Organisations across Nations. (2nd ed). 2003. Sage: Beverly Hills.

 2.2. Cultural Differences in Spain

Each sub-culture has its own distinct identity, although there are some basic similarities with the indigenous population.

Eastern Europeans, a relatively youthful group numbering more than 900 000, hail mainly from Romania and Bulgaria. In addressing this group, it is necessary for marketers to have a dual focus: their distinctive needs and lifestyles, and the common ground it shares with Spanish society. These latter similarities would include their interest in new technology, particularly in mobile communications.

Latin Americans, however, originating mainly from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, are a group easily identified by their ethnic features and share many cultural traits with the Spanish; the importance of the family, gastronomy, open-air socialising, and an appreciation of beauty and fashion. To reach this community, marketers need to use a greater degree of emotion in communications, rather than relying on logic and the rational. Therefore, techniques such as music and other emotional cues are often employed.

The Asian population, hailing mainly from China, is the most dynamic and enterprising of all immigrant groups. As with Latin Americans, they attach a high degree of importance to the family and have a particular mentality which makes them very receptive to the messages perceived to be encoded by their own prescriptors.

Finally, Africans, represented mainly by the Morrocan population, are made distinct by cultural and religious customs, and these must, of necessity, be addressed by communications targeted at them.

The Spanish media, to a large extent, covers the needs of immigrants and plays both an informative and formative role. Additionally, the internet is now a significant factor in connecting immigrants with their countries of origin. Messenger, emails, Skype, etc are all vehicles used in this regard.

The media occupy a fundamental position in the integration of immigrants in the hosting society: promoting the union with their beloved, both emotionally and materially. They are the enablers of a constant traffic of currency and material items to their countries of origin. “Immigrants pay the money here, and the product is delivered there”. Long-distance shopping has gained in importance; being able to buy a fridge here, and being served there, as in Ecuador. The media also plays a major role in bringing people closer and facilitating the integration. “We in the media can learn the various customs of the countries, and those arriving can also expand their culture. Media are used to reaffirm the ethnic identities of immigrants, to keep their culture and languages, wherever they go. They also promote, through the new technologies (satellite, Internet) the creation of social networks”.

Telecommunications also promote the formation of global cultures, without geographical specificity. A result of this is job creation, as evidenced by the expansion of the telephone booth infrastructure, partially in response to the demand of immigrants.

Print is the media most preferred by immigrants, especially free newspapers, whether aimed at immigrants in general, or to specific communities. Examples are those aimed specifically at the Chinese, Romanians and Ecuadorians.

The small ethnic publications, promoted by immigrant associations, charities or NGO's, though limited to the circle of associations and cultural centres, also have a wide acceptance among other communities.

There has been a significant increase in the number of radio stations (such as Radio Gladis) and new channels have been initiated in television (such as Canal Latino). There are also specific channels such as outside circuits, phone booths, events (street marketing), direct marketing or Internet.

Regarding new technology, the internet is the most extensively-used medium for  transnational and interactive communication with countries of origin and with their own community/ies in other countries, through emails, chats, videoconferences, skype. This medium of communication is enhanced by its low-cost nature.

Most of the media give instantaneous information through internet, such as,,,

Satellite television also contributes to transnational communication, as evidenced by Al Jazeera, the channel  for the Maghribian population.

Concerning media consumption habits, it was found that:

According to the data gathered by EMI and EGM in the III Annuary of the Immigrant Communication in Spain (2009:81), more than 80 % of immigrants watch television, making it the dominant medium. But, when a language problem occurs, media consumption drops considerably depending on the nationality. Thus, 49.71% of Latinos claim to listen to the radio compared with 40.49 % of Africans. 37.38% of Latinos claim to read newspapers, and free papers in particular, whereas the comparable figure for Africans is 27.59%.

Internet is the only means of communication that immigrants used more regularly than the indigenous Spanish population.  It is the fastest-growing medium used by immigrants, due to the popularity of chat rooms, internet cafes, access to electronic devices, etc. and more recently due to the advent of social networks such as Facebook, Tuenti and Myspace. Additionally, mobile phones have a 90 % incidence within the immigrant population.

Figura 4. Internet evolution
Source: III Inmigrant Communication Yearbook 2008/2009. Etnia PR Agency. Madrid, Spain

Although general media do feature in their consumption patterns, ethnic media and specialised programmes are those that occupy top positions. In Spain, there are over specialist 70 media for immigrants. There are 14 newspapers, some of which are really successful, as María Teresa Santos indicates (2008: 610), such as the weekly "Si se puede", which first came out in 2004 with a distribution of 50000 reaching 139538 copies in 2007, and still growing. A similar case is that of "Latino" that grew from 79405 to 130000 copies and "Raíz", which initially had a distribution of 150000 and reaches today 312000 copies;20 magazines, 4 informative websites, 14 radio stations, 10 radio programmes, 7 television programmes, 2 TV channels, and a range of channels in the digital television.

This is a fast-growing sector that attracts more announcers, political parties, and public institutions on a daily basis. There is even speculation about the strength  and ability of this new medium to significantly influence political outcomes. The study done by Laura Cristina Navarro in the III Communication Annuary of the Immigrant in Spain, (2008: 116-142) features accurately for the first time the means of communication created for and by immigrants in Spain.

Figure 5. Comparative analysis of the habits of media consume between the immigrant and the Spanish populations

Source: III Inmigrant Communication Yearbook 2008/2009. Etnia PR Agency. Madrid, Spain

2.3. Case Study – Unilever, soap brands – Omo, Persil, Skip.

Unilever’s detergent strongholds (Asia, Africa, South America) were under serious threat from competitors in the late 1990’s. Their major brand, Omo, which in some markets known as Ala (Argentine),Persil (U.K. and Ireland), Skip (Spain) had a fairly tenuous relationship with consumers, based largely on its functional attributes. Advertising was perceived to be boring, predictable and stereotyped –relying largely on split-screen tests and contrived visual cues. There was also very little consistency in theme across borders or cultures; advertising effort appeared to be of a largely regional character.

Executionally, much of its advertising was of a largely didactic nature, and content and style were disengaged from emotional appeal and engagement.

Unilever commissioned extensive research (both qualitative and quantitative), across the globe with the purposes of situation evaluation and of producing a platform for brand repositioning, and as an opportunity analysis for developing strong emotional links with consumers

The results of this extensive research revealed, among other things, one significant insight, well known like philosophy: “Dirt is Good”: Experience involves dirt, dirt involves discovery, learning involves dirt… So Playing in the park means getting dirty, playing sport means getting dirty, drawing with paint means getting dirty…

Unilever sees dirt in a different way; it sees it as a natural part of the activities and experience that are important for learning and development, and those that are enjoyable and engaging. Moreover, that dirt is not an obstacle or barrier to the practice of these activities.

This new positioning underpinned this strong emotional link with product enhancement and innovation, to provide the market with a product that offered superior functional benefits, as well

The insight on which this new positioning was built, was a universal human truth (as revealed by research), and it led to the somewhat surprising, but appropriate, slogan, “Dirt is good”, which is now used in marketing communications world-wide.

The company (Unilever) had also developed a workable and effective marketing communications model – a combination of global innovation and local innovation. This was orchestrated through key regional hubs known as Regional Innovation and Advertising Centres.

Global advertising ideas are developed, and these ‘templates’ are locally adapted. Having this factor of latitude and flexibility within its approach to multicultural marketing allows for the optimisation of relevance and resonance with the many different countries and cultures that make up its market.

In Southafrica, focus to the mothers (the principal purchasers of detergents) who had embraced a modern approach towards parenting. This mind-state implied that children, in order to develop, should be allowed to discover life through outdoor exploration and physical/experimental activity. This obviously meant that dirty or stained clothing was the natural consequence of these activities. And that was where Omo staked its ‘partnership’ position with mothers. This new positioning allowed it to be portrayed as the partner in “Modern Parenting”, its new umbrella concept.

In Argentina, Ala is the Omo variant marketed by Unilever. Advertising typically features children engaged in various outdoor activities. These are of a sporting, playful or creative nature. The executions have a universal appeal, transcend cultures, and conform to the 'Dirt is Good' umbrella theme.

In Spain, the multinational Unilever markets its detergent brand Skip (also known as Omo, Ala or Persil in other geographical markets) as the ‘champion’ in stain removal. This positioning has been applied in its Spanish advertising, using the footballer David Villa (of World Cup fame) as the brand endorser. In its execution, Villa meets Unilever’s ‘double-fisted challenge’ by demonstrating how Skip effectively cleans the stained shirts of forty young football enthusiasts.

Further activation is locally executed in integrated campaigns and activities that span promotion, sampling, sponsorship, public relations, events and experiential marketing. For example Unilever, the marketer of detergent Omo in Brazil, has launched the campaign “Try something..." in which a GPS is included in the product packaging. This tactic is designed to include the surprise element for consumers in their own homes. The incentive offered comprises video cameras and travel as prizes.

This approach has allowed for a consistency in theme across the globe, whilst at the same facilitating communications that have relevance to individual cultures.

Examination of campaigns from different parts of the world clearly demostrate the effectiveness of the model that has been developed and implemented.Local, or regional, efforts feature executional content (copy, casting, visuals) that resonate with local audiences, but clearly adhere to the umbrella theme.
In countries where there is a diversity of cultures and/or ethnic groups, use is extensively made of executional techniques that transcend these differences. Typically, use will be made of children playing sport or engaged in domestic activities that have a broad, non-specific, appeal.

3.  Results

What is important in the planning and execution of communications is that individuals do not move through life with only one cultural reference. They ‘move’ in and out of cultures, subcultures, communities and experiences on a continual basis. True multicultural marketing is both process- and target-driven, and some of the other factors that demand intensive consideration are those of race, language, religion, gender, level of education, sexual orientation and legislation.

Lessons are continually learnt (some of which have been very costly) as the dynamics of markets and geographies are changing constantly. Some of the cross-segment lessons that have been learned from the efforts of leading marketers are as follows:

  1. Look at the whole person, not one demographic characteristic
  2. Avoid stereotypes – including parodies and ‘positive’ stereotypes
  3. Do not patronise or be condescending
  4. Make judicious use of humour – uncertainty avoidance
  5. Make relevant ties to special causes, where possible and considered essential
  6. Thorough pre-testing of messages and creative concepts
  7. Non-contrived depiction of diversity in creative execution
  8. Use of call or contact centres to offer language facilities in multi-vernacular markets
  9. Develop a template or methodology for cross-segment marketing
  10. Harness the power of best practice – cross-pollination of ideas and initiatives, instead of a prescriptive, top-down style.

4. Discussion and conclusions

Multicultural marketing or ethnic marketing is set to receive even greater prominence in the coming years as the social landscape continues to change at a fast pace in many parts of the world. This presents exciting opportunities for enterprising organizations; reinvigorating established markets and entering new ones.

Adapting brand messages while at the same time maintaining strategic brand consistency and fulfilling the global mission requires a delicate balance. And the formula is applicable irrespective of whether the markets lie within or across borders.

In the Spanish case as advertisers become conscious of a new target, they adopt the conventional approach to segmentation. A new ethnic marketing strategy is developed, with segmentation followed by targeting and positioning, with appropriate products to match the different tastes and needs. Accordingly, advertising agencies integrate multicultural and multidisciplinary teams, often with immigrant groups represented within the ranks of team members. The media interested in the target, either generalist or specialist, provide services and products to cater for the informative, formative and leisure needs of the immigrants.

There is still little detailed knowledge on public investment aimed at immigrants, as well as on the efficiency of the media related to these audiences. The EGM (General Survey of Media) and Infoadex do not engage in measuring or controlling media aimed at immigrants.  Only the ACPI (Association for the knowledge of the Immigrant population) has made an attempt to establish an EMI (Survey of Immigrant media) as a standard reference on their media consumption patterns.

In the PGD (free distributed publications) there are still 9 mastheads without data.

Communication has to be integral and authentic in order to reach these targets. It is what is called Creativity in the Origin, which is what is currently done by some specialist advertising agencies in Spain, such as Etnia Comunicación. Significant resources have been allocated and applied to developing effective approaches to reach these diverse audiences, across platforms, and in a sustainable manner.

Immigrant audiences remain under-studied and largely neglected. Immigrants cannot be considered as a homogeneous group, but rather as distinct audiences. Whilst they do display certain behavioural and consumption patterns similar to those of indigenous Spanish consumers, there are unique characteristics that distinguish them, and demand focus on the part of marketers, to optimise probability of success.

* The results of this study come from the "Lifelong Learning Programme" (LLP): Higher Education Erasmus mobility. Bilateral agreement for the academic year 2008-2010 between the professors.

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6. Notes

[1] Ferrero (2010: 95-111) taken from the National Statistics Institute (INE) Municipal Records and Census 1981, 1991 and 2001. The data from 2007 to 2009 come from the INE. Data from 1981 to 2006 were taken from Antonio Izquierdo, Demografía de los Extranjeros: Incidencia en el crecimiento de la población.

[2]  Fundación Empresa y Sociedad (2008) “A pesar de la incertidumbre económica, España seguirá necesitando nuevos inmigrantes aborales” en Internet taken January 10, 2011.

[3] TNS (2008) TNS inmigrantes: consumidores que suman. Barcelona, TNS.

[4] AA.VV. (2008) “Estudio ómnibus inmigrantes“ en Acnielsen, 2008. Internet taken March 18, 2009:
AA.VV. (2008) Estudio de medios para inmigrantes. ACPI. Resumen general EMI 2008. Internet taken January 15, 2009:
AA.VV. (2008) “Estudio sobre inversión publicitaria en medios interactivos”. En IABSpain.  Internet taken March 23, 2009:
AA.VV. (2009). “3er anuario de la comunicación del inmigrante en España 08/09”. Etnia Comunicación. Madrid,



Arroyo-Almaraz, I. and Van-Wyk, C. (201 1): "Multicultural Marketing in Spain; perspectives on communications directed at immigrant population groups", at Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 66, pages 482 to 504. La Laguna (Tenerife, Canary Islands): La Laguna University, retrieved on ___th of ____ of 2_______, from
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-66-2011-942-482-504-EN/ CrossRef link

Article received on 6 February 2011. Submitted to pre-review on 7 February. Sent to reviewers on February 7. Accepted on 10 May 2011. Galley proofs made available to the authors on 13 May 2011. Approved by authors on 20 May 2011. Published on 1 June 2011.

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