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Tips for Getting Culture Right: Creative Development

We at Univision Communications Inc know how difficult it can be to get culture “right,” especially when it seems like every few weeks the industry is engaged in another conversation about a brand or business that has offended with their latest campaign.

Over the past 60 years, we’ve had the privilege of helping clients across nearly every industry navigate thousands of creative assets. In doing so, we’ve learned a lot about reaching just about every growth segment, and in this two-part series we’re sharing tips to help you get culture “right.” If you missed it, click here to read our first installment on brand building and the use of data.


Inclusive advertising is critical (and precisely the reason we launched Project Unbound) but inclusivity is so much more than choosing diverse actors that represent your growth segments.

The key to successful creative is focusing on whether or not it resonates with your consumers rather than whether or not it reflects your consumers. That means avoiding surface-level representations of culture that are more likely to fall flat. Using Hispanics to illustrate, not all Hispanics have the same color skin, accent, or music preference. However, a more effective strategy involves creative that centers on a cultural insight that your consumer segment can relate to.  However, as with any group of people with shared values, there are particular Hispanic passion points which are an anchor to their identity, and it’s important to treat these points delicately.


One of these anchors for Hispanics is the importance of Spanish-language in their lives, whether or not it is their dominant language. Spanish is cultural, and we see time and again that when creative is in-language, messages resonate in a more profound way. Let’s look at the numbers: When we compare the likeability of ads (the closest data point to purchase intent) watched by Hispanics 18-49, likeability for Spanish ads is 2X higher than English. Additionally, 88% of Hispanics appreciate a business that communicates to them in Spanish.

When you do this work, you can be sure that your ads will work harder for you, as cultural contextual targeting boosts ad performance by 60%. Further, in-culture ads double brand favorability and influence consumers to want to recommend the brand more, which increases the brand’s social capital. All of which means that creative that is in-culture and in-language has the best chance to resonate.


Start with these principles and you will be well on your way to getting culture “right.” But don’t forget, a crucial element of the process is having people that represent the targeted consumers review your ads. If you don’t have anyone internally that can do this, be sure to ask a trusted partner—like UCI— who can provide this perspective. By approaching your growth segments authentically, and with the intention of building trust, these actions will go a long way in overcoming any unintentional mistakes or faux-pas in your brand’s journey to truly resonate with consumers.

Source: 1. Kantar Futures, 2017 – Base: A18-49; 2. Culture In Context: Marketing to the Hispanic Mindset, Univision-Magna Study in Partnership with IPG Media Labs, January 2018

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