Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spanglish is the New Ad Lingo

--Luis Sierra, Youth Radio LA

What’s the new What? Spanglish is the new ad lingo.

Spanglish, code-switching between English and Spanish, is what marketers are using to sell everything from the war in Iraq to Burger King’s fusion food, “Chicken Fries”.

But don’t get it twisted. Spanglish has been around for a long time. And you can hear it everywhere Spanish speakers live and communicate with one another. But, according to Catarino Lopez, Creative Director for Bromley Communications, and maker of the BK Chicken Fries Commercial, the Latino market is always growing, as immigrants come to the U.S. for jobs and better opportunities. And as immigrant populations gain economic mobility, advertisers are trying to sell them more and more expensive products. They’re not just selling products; they’re selling a sense of belonging.

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimates that Latino purchasing power will grow to over a trillion dollars by 2010. But Ilan Stavans, the editor of the Spanglish Dictionary, and Professor at Amherst College, believes the financial impact of Spanglish will be minor when compared to the way it will rewrite culture. He says Spanish will become much more prevalent in media, and ultimately shape the way we use English. “So in other words, even if you don’t speak Spanglish, at some point in the very near future not able to understand even a little bit of Spanglish will become a handicap for you, ” Stavans says.

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