In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Campaign US is spotlighting Hispanic executives from across the industry. This interview with Cesar Sanchez, multicultural creative at Innocean USA, has been lightly edited.
What is it like to be a Latino/Hispanic in the advertising industry?
Being Hispanic in advertising is an ongoing journey to educate brands and agencies about Hispanic culture. It’s about having a voice to challenge stereotypes and create everlasting connections with a multicultural audience of 60 million people.
How has it changed since you first started?
The Hispanic market is experiencing a huge shift. Many years ago, if you created a Spanish-only national TV and radio campaign, you would have reached most of your target market.
The huge demographic change in the US toward multicultural consumers, combined with the explosion of other media, especially social media, has made the Hispanic market very complex. Developing a meaningful dialogue with this audience and expressing your concern and care for their community are key.
As a result, the Hispanic Advertising industry has also changed. Traditional agencies working in a “silo” will struggle and eventually disappear. Agencies that embrace and celebrate diversity and inclusion and produce bilingual marketing strategies will thrive for years to come.
How would you like to see brands honor Hispanic Heritage Month this year?
I’d love to see brands drive real change and go beyond just “checking the box.” I’d love for brands to develop something with meaning and show excitement, commitment and passion for our culture that goes beyond this month.
Where has the advertising industry made progress with diversity and inclusion? What still needs to be done?
Most agencies have incorporated a diverse and inclusive workforce in some capacity. But when it comes to Hispanics, there are not enough of us in key roles. We have to continue to create space for Hispanic talent in all departments. There is always room for improvement in building teams that reflect the way our country looks. We’ll continue to take necessary steps to do so.
What is something you love about your culture?
I love telling stories. It's not just about the stories told, but how they are told. Intangibles, subtleties and nuances make a huge difference.
How would you like to see your culture represented in the industry and by brands?
The main issue is misrepresentation and the use of stereotypes when marketing to our community. Brands have struggled to rely on “Hispanic queues,” resulting in ads that overwhelmingly limit representation. Focusing on family may appear safe, but it will be limiting without representing Latinos with any individualism or sophistication.
I’d like to see more visibility and representation across ads, TV series, movies, art and politics. That way, younger generations will be inspired to lead.