When American firms try to reach out to Latino audiences, they often make the mistake of assuming all Hispanics are alike. This according to Cilantro Animation, an advertising firm dedicated to animated marketing that targets a wide range of nationalities, including Mexican, Cuban, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Colombian and Ecuadorian, taking into account the different customs, expressions and cultural sensitivities.
‘The Hispanic market has been lumped into a big bucket, and that doesn’t serve the market properly,’ says Salvatore Cavalieri, president and CEO of Cilantro Animation Studios. ‘We’re in an age where we have to listen more carefully to what the audience says. Before they give you their money, they want to know you went the extra step.’
Cavalieri says Cilantro Animation was founded specifically to help corporations know their target audience when tailoring their media messages for Hispanic cultures. The state-of-the-art studio uses proprietary 3D animation technology to create unique animated characters and commercials for the television and advertising industries. The staff of ten represents a wide range of educational backgrounds and Latino-American cultures and is described by Cavalieri as a harmonious mix of Pablo Picasso and Bill Gates types.
It’s projected that by 2009 one person out of every six living in the U.S. will be of Hispanic origin, and The Washington Post reports that by 2011 Hispanic buying power will have grown by 48% to nearly $1.2 trillion. Cilantro feels that understanding the diverse cultures that fall under that umbrella will be the key to grabbing a slice of that pie. While 70% percent of the U.S. Hispanic population hails from Mexico, that culture isn’t dominant in all American cities, especially Cuban-dominated Miami. Cilantro also acknowledges that a large section of the U.S. Hispanic population is acculturated, and that ‘Spanglish,’ a combination of Spanish and English, is often the best solution for getting a message across.
‘Technology is very democratic,’ Cavalieri concludes. ‘Anybody with money and the proper resources can get it. But it’s hard to learn art. It’s an intrinsic talent. You can buy software but you can’t buy artistic talent. So we’re very proud to have artists and storytellers who can create such wonderful characters. We may be an animation company, but if we don’t have a story that captures your attention’English or Spanish speaking’we have failed.’