This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Demographic Targeting Taking New Turns in US

Segmenting markets and then targeting different "demographics" is now a mainstay of advertising products and services. The question is: Which demographic characteristics matter? This will obviously vary depending upon what is being sold, but this week's Economist notes that the latest census data for the US highlight the fact the country is on the path to becoming a minority-majority population. 
Advertisers have noticed. Many now favour cross-cultural ads that emphasise what black, Hispanic and Asian-American consumers have in common. This approach is thought to work well with the young, who often listen to the same music, eat the same food and wear similar clothes regardless of their ethnic background.
Ogilvy & Mather, a big ad agency, formed OgilvyCulture in 2010 as a unit specialising in cross-cultural marketing. “The ethnic ad model has not changed since the 1960s,” says Jeffrey Bowman, head of OgilvyCulture. It was the census data that made Ogilvy change its model. In 2010 Burger King stopped employing ethnic agencies such as LatinWorks, which specialised in the Hispanic market, to address its consumers as a whole rather than taking a segmented approach.
Nestlé, a huge food firm, aims some ads at Hispanics, America’s largest minority. It recruited four Hispanic mothers to blog on a new bilingual website, El Mejor Nido(The Best Nest), offering tips about parenting and healthy eating. Hispanics are younger than other Americans, have more children and spend more on food, says Juan Motta, who heads the California-based unit running Nestlé’s Hispanic campaign in the United States, which promotes both the firm’s Latin American brands, such as La Lechera and Abuelita, and the rest of its larder.
It is a bit of an understatement to call Nestlé a "huge food firm." They are a giant (by which I mean bigger than huge) food and drink firm, and their global reach offers them unusual sensitivity to demographic trends, including differences within ethnic groups, for example, that advertisers should probably take into account:
Getting the right ethnic perspective is tricky. Hispanics are a varied lot. An ad that delights Cuban-Americans may irritate migrants from Venezuela. Asians are hardly monolithic, either. Even the wittiest Korean catchphrases will provoke only bafflement in Chinatown.

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