April 14, 2008

It seems to be getting tougher to crack the Hispanic space these days but if you're going to do it then do it big and do it RIGHT.  MySpace Latino's launch concert on April 11 in Miami is a great example.

If you want to establish your credibility--especially street cred--immediately and unequivocally with today's Latino, then you have to start on the right foot.  It's all about setting the right tone, and MySpace Latino did that nicely by having as its concert headliner Boricua reggaeton pioneer Tego Calderon.  MySpace Latino made a profound statement by kicking off its "Shows Secretos" concert series with a black Latino--when was the last time you saw any Hispanic media entity do that?  Sure, you had Circo and Beto Cuevas give brilliant, crowd-energizing performances, but Tego was the headliner, and that said it all.  The audience responded in kind.

I've been a great admirer of Tego and his music for some time.  He is a genuine poet and accomplished musician but what has also struck me about Tego is that in a Latin entertainment world often dominated by the light-skinned, the blond and the blue-eyed, Tego unabashedly and proudly talks about his Afro-Latino heritage and essence.  With Tego it's all about being authentic.  And there's no doubt that his fans, and young Latinos in general see this.

When Hennessy cognac decided a few years ago to take its personality-driven "Never Blend In" advertising campaign Hispanic, it was absolutely critical that it maintained the essence of the campaign.  The Hispanic celebrities selected had to be genuine and also had to be perceived as authentic  and independent innovators.  So Hennessy selected Tego as its first Hispanic personality (and it wasn't like they were jumping on the reggaeton bandwagon because it was before "Gasolina" hit the airwaves).  The Hennessy brand was a pioneer in its selection of Tego as much as Tego himself is a reggaeton pioneer.  After all, Hennessy had been using the images of such iconic and independent-minded individuals as Marvin Gaye and Miles Davis for its general market efforts.  Hennessy hit a home run with Tego, and now so has MySpace Latino.

Not only is Tego seen as the real thing but he really walks the talk.  It probably won't win him a key to the city of Miami but Tego recently told the Miami Herald what he thought of the Magic City: "it can be a little too superficial, and that's not me."  It's all about keeping it real.  Sure, he performed in Miami but he didn't lose himself.

MySpace Latino is built from a brand with a formidable equity and tenor, but it needed to launch itself assertively and authentically.  It has done that with Tego.  I've always said this about my favorite media mogul and owner of MySpace, Rupert Murdoch: he doesn't hire stupid people.


I don't think it is the "authenticity". Personally, I think it is the relevance. Hennessy can be as authentic as it wants, it is just not relevant for my life, so I don't consume it. I don't know if Publix is authentic, but it is certainly relevant to my life (where shopping is a pleasure), therefore I go. Toyota has long ceased to be authentic (I mean, a Japanese brand, where six-sigma, an american invention repudiated in the US originally, served as the quality tool, now built in middle America...) but its message of quality and price is VERY relevant to me. Therefore, it might be my next car. Next to relevance I would say credibility. All my friends rave about their Toyotas and Lexuses... all of them. Therefore, the Toyota makes it into my list. None of my friends have anything good to say about their Dodge or Chrysler. Therefore, none of the cars make it into my list. While "authenticity" sounds great as a rallying cry for a minority-themed campaign, most of my 20+ years experience shows that consumers in every country (and I'm talking 30+) put relevance and credibility first.

good point....relevancy is key. I think you added what would be the second part of my can't be relevant if you're not perceived as authentic. Remember, it is the perceived authenticity and it's not just for ethnic audiences in the US...think globally. Jack Daniel's has enjoyed tremendous success in the UK and northern Europe because it has been very relevant to young adults, because it is perceived to be "authentically American." You can argue about what is authentic but people's perception is people's perception. By the way, I use credibility and authenticity as interchangeable terms. And do not under-estimate ethnic relevance (I prefer ethnic over minority). McDonalds approach to U.S. General Market advertising creative is to "lead with an ethnic consumer insight." Now that's relevancy.

The blog writer considers Rupert Murdoch his favorite media mogul and then raves about the Myspace Latino launch because Tego Calderon was the entertainment? There is a conflict of interest there, so the discussion about "authenticity" and "relevancy" is meaningless and biased. In any case, it is naive to think you can establish any sort of credibility off of one tactic. I want to see where MySpace Latino will be in the next three years. And Tego Calderon as well.

You are trying to save a faulty argument by mixing, matching and bending language. Credibility is not authenticity. Credibility directly pertains to the product or brand's ability to deliver on the promise... whether authentic or not. Authenticity goes straight into the origins, but does not guarantee credbility. For example, Anis (anissette for Anglos) is super-authentic from Gijon... yet, its credibility as a cure for menstrual pains is seriously in doubt (in spite of the perception of countless old women that it works). Relevance is whether the product, brand, service or solution fits your needs at this moment. You can be authentic (Anis), not credible (menstrual pains) and not relevant (who drinks that crap anyway?) all in the same sentence. You were wrong in your original post... it's not the authenticity, it's the relevancy + credibility that will close the sale... move on.

I am a huge fan of Tego Calderon-I like some of his music-but moreso I like what he is striving to do and has done-I guess my entry is not going to even begin to capture how much I admire this guy -(much like how I admire Celia Cruz, Nicolas Guillen, etc.) but what and who he represents world wide is incredible. He crosses and covers so many areas and cultures with his sound, his outlook on life and his style. I love his new video and I finally had a chance to see his movie Illegal Tender which broke my heart into a thousand pieces because my mom was only a few months pregnant with me when my father was murdered and there are so many secrets and lies surrounding my dad's death- it was like seeing all that stuff right before my eyes-all the stuff I've only heard about for years-go figure. I talk about Tego to my students-I am a Spanish teacher-I teach students of all races the language I prefer and love- Spanish-some of my students are even Spanish speakers but they want to learn how to write and read in Spanish-I would love it if Tego could just come and talk to them about education and life-but I know he is way to busy for that (frown). I am African American-and a very proud bilingual lady-my boyfriend is salvadoreño and from being with me now he sees a lot of the things that Tego talks about. Thank you for this article.

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