By Dennis Clemente
How do you woo and win America? In 2009, I wrote a piece about how Filipinos could start with food–and how pretty much everything else will fall into place. It was called “Where is Filipino food in the US marketplace?”
Four years later this month, I wrote a sequel of sorts originally titled, “So who’s chicken? A tale of two ethnicities.” The title was changed to make it more topical and less controversial perhaps.
This latest story tells the story of two types of Filipino restaurants–the franchises and fine-dining places. The emphasis is on the former for having the financial wherewithal to go mainstream America but which also seems flummoxed by the idea of doing so. In the piece, comments have poured in about the limits of Filipino cuisine. I say one’s imagination in tweaking Filipino food need not be limited, for only in creating noise can Filipino businesses also get advertising dollars, and it is in food that you woo America and win America.
To make the piece as accessible as possible, I kept my more pressing personal observation about Filipinos’ lack of presence in the marketplace to myself, but which I can reveal here more openly. Sad to say, the problem really stems from a lack of confidence in marketing Filipino food to the mainstream market.
Just ask anyone and they will tell you why not when every other ethnicity has a restaurant catering to everyone.
I’ve often been asked why Filipino/Tagalog ads in the US are mixed with English. I have three answers. The first and most obvious reason is that Filipinos use English in school and in the corporate world in the Philippines. It’s what was inculcated in us being a former American colony.
The second less obvious reason why we use Taglish when English would have been sufficient is that it’s more natural. It’s how we talk, because Filipino or Tagalog has not fully evolved, (no) thanks to our colonial past. It was colonized by Spain for over 300 years, three by the Brits and 4 years (occupation) by the Japanese, not to mention our sizable Chinese population, our earliest migrants dating back to 15th-century Philippines. We have the oldest Chinatown in the world.
The third reason why we use Taglish even in the States hedges on a marketing approach where there is just too much noise in the general market and to get Filipinos’ attention one has to use Taglish to stand out in the marketplace. For recent immigrants, the connection with the home country is formed. For Filipino Americans who can understand a little Filipino/Tagalog, it connects them with their parents–and their roots.
However, it is important to bear in mind that if one is targeting Filipinos in Hawaii, it’s important to use English only, as the earliest Filipino settlers in the US first called Hawaii their home. That would be back in the 1920s where one generation after another has become wholly American. Think Tia Carrere. Also, most of these early settlers came from the northern part of the Philippines where they spoke a dialect called Ilokano.
By Dennis Clemente
As Rosie Siman, social strategist, ended her content marketing talk on February 19, she urged the hundred or so attendees to write a word on a white paper plastered on a wall.
Soon enough, I saw a woman write “bilingual,” on the board. I introduced myself and asked her why she wrote it, whereupon she brandished a business card. It read Silvia Echevarria of Groupo Parada, a Hispanic ad agency. I followed suit and wrote Asian-American, a word that I never hyphenate until that night.
An Eastern European woman was curious enough to ask me about the word, so I explained to her and Siliva why I wrote what I wrote. It’s because we’re all still in the margins of all marketing talk in the United States. We’re not in the conversation yet, because all this social/content beehive of activity is still fairly new.
What’s essentially missing and not yet addressed is how the minority marketing segment can make use of the insights provided by Siman who works at the leading digital marketing agency 360i. It specializes in search engine marketing, social media, mobile marketing and web design and development.
There’s no answer yet for the minority agencies.
For now, we can only marvel at how the general market is making such great headways in content marketing. One effective example she showed was American Express’ Open Forum.
Read more abut this topic at http://reimaginetech.com/siman-of-360i-defines-pillars-of-content-marketing/
Learn more at
Having a winning Facebook page means being able to maintain that streak.
To cut to the case, it really boils down to running promotions and ads, the rest is just to keep people interested, and this is where content plays a small yet crucial role in helping us keep Facebook buzzing with likes and comments.
For those without a budget, the slides below for the Filipino market in the States primarily shows how you can keep your audience engaged–the organic or, in journalistic lingo, editorial way. Yes, it has come to this. Facebooks works like a magazine, of sorts. You can also call it content marketing, but that’s another topic.
For more information about the slides here, contact me
By Dennis Clemente
If you’re watching this as an Asian American or acculturated Asian in America, you’ll exclaim, “They (ad agencies) finally get it!” It’s certainly a thoughtful piece that should earn Subaru love from the young Asian American family as target market.
Casting an all-Asian cast in American car TV ads? Unheard of years ago. Now, you have Subaru’s “Sweet Tomorrow” TV commercial for the second-generation Asian American family. It follows the Nissan “Errands” spot two years ago, although the former is admittedly a paean to Asian families where the latter is simply about motherhood with, incidentally, an Asian cast.
Clearly in both spots, ad agencies took a break from portraying stereotypes or using tropes just to meet its ethnic quota. It’s not exactly easy for mainstream ad agencies to understand the Asian American market when it’s open knowledge that it hires only 5% of minorities. For your reference, this is a Chinese American family you’re watching.
This lack of understanding of Asian culture makes it hard for them to catch nuances, but Subaru saw it. One particular effective touch is how the guy shields his wife and her pregnant tummy from cyclers passing by; it’s a chivalrous act not lost among Asians. You’ll also see the wife on the safe side of the road, the curb.
Clearly, Subaru has taken the slice-of-life scenario to a whole new level. It paints a picture of America as we know it–peopled also by other cultures embracing their adopted culture.
Job well done, Subaru and your ”Sweet Tomorrow” commercial.
What do non-Asian marketers need to be sensitive about when targeting the Asian American market? Here’s how one video breaks it down for you. And for those wondering why he didn’t mention other Asians, well, I would ask him to do a sequel. It’s just the kind of video that he could spin off as a series.
Social media ads are tied to your ethnicity, after all.
Asian American consumers are the most receptive to social media ads, according to Nielsen’s Social Media Report 2012. Asian Americans’ response resulted in typical social activities–shares, likes and even purchases based on their response to an ad. Conversely, the study reports that whites were the least interested in social media and social ads.
What the report doesn’t say is how Asian Americans in general are recognized early adopters of technology–and that includes gadget ownership where they can be eyeing a product on a smartphone or a tablet computer.
Companies always ask, Where are Asian Americans? They’re engaged online, so to speak.
For those already immersed in so many studies (eg. Selig Center, American Community Survey, eMarketer, IAB Interactive) about Asians and Asian Americans through the years, the latest Pew Research nationwide survey is just one more affirmation why advertising to Asian Americans is crucial for companies like McDonald’s, which has been at it early and longer, counting more than a decade without adding chopsticks to its utensils.
The Pew Research states, “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.”
A telling part in the survey that I haven’t heard as much is this data: “Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Asian-American adults were born abroad; of these, about half say they speak English very well and half say they don’t.”
I am one of those born abroad, writing in English as a second language that makes potential employers wonder if I am a “good corporate fit.” not realizing I grew up chided for ”being more of an American than an American.” Not good.
For more on the study, click here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/06/19/the-rise-of-asian-americans/
A report by the NY Times, “For Many Asian New Yorkers, Smoking Is Still a Way of Life,” intrigued us. It states that the city’s Asian population has been stubbornly resistant to the successful efforts by the Bloomberg administration to curb smoking among New Yorkers. Smoking among the city’s Asian communities has not budged since 2002 — most notably among Asian men, despite decreases in the habit among almost every other demographic, according to data from the city’s health department.
The department reportedly introduced graphic ads in Chinese for its annual campaign to distribute nicotine patches and gum, and offering Chinese speakers for those who call 311 to enroll in the program. Also, it will bombard the ethnic news media with translated versions of its antismoking campaign called “Pain,” which depicts excruciating smoking-related cancers.
The focus on Asians stems from the fact that smoking has gone down for most ethnic segments from 2002 to 2010. Among blacks, for example, the rate fell to 12.5 percent from 20.8 percent and among whites, it dropped to 15.6 percent from 23.8 percent, according to the report.
It is common knowledge that smoking in Asia is still high and many who come here stick to the habit. For Mayor Bloomberg to be more successful in this, he needs a stronger ad campaign from Asian American ad agencies.