Hispanic Heritage Month: More than cute sombreros and tequila


Hispanic Heritage Month: More than cute sombreros and tequila

Chris Quintero

Unless you’re Hispanic, the only way you can truly learn about, understand, & relate to the U.S. Hispanic audience is through rich, cultural immersion.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time when the nation comes together to share and salute the vast contributions that Hispanic Americans and their heritage bring to our society, celebrating from September 15th to October 15th. According to the Census Bureau, more than 50% of the U.S. Hispanic population (USH) is under the age of 30, and by 2060, 3 in 10 Americans will have Hispanic lineage. The time of looking at this audience as “nice-to-have” on your tactical plans has passed. You must consider this community a substantial market force. 

Having a multicultural approach should be an ongoing practice by any successful agency. For this reason, Adelante, our internal Latino ERG, hosts a series of events to educate our Unicorns on fundamentals needed to successfully reach USH audiences. 

The ultimate goal is to explore the nuances of the USH experience with fun opportunities to enrich an understanding through the perspectives of our peers, providing much needed levity despite the current political climate.  

Here’s a glimpse of this year’s celebration at Digitas Chicago:

State of The Market

We kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with a presentation summarizing AdAge’s annual Hispanic Fact Pack, featuring the latest USH demographics and trends, media behaviors, and case studies. This recap provides a great way to synthesize the data while weaving in impactful insights, laying the groundwork for a month of fruitful discussions.

As you continue in your endless pursuit of leveraging data to derive the insights to fuel creativity, it's critical to understand the fine line between chasing an insight that makes meaningful connections vs promoting stereotypes that sour relationships with Multicultural audiences.

Ultimately, the ability to create real connections reflects across the authenticity of an execution. However well-intended, when an approach lacks the necessary nuances, it is easy for a brand to run afoul of emerging ethnic groups by not coming from a place of honesty, compassion, and real-ness.

Latin Spirits — more than just a drink

Discussing ethnicity may leave some feeling uneasy, as if they’re walking on eggshells, afraid to offend; with the looming clouds of recent political decisions, we wanted to bring a little fiesta to this year’s festivities. Much like the Latino community, the advertising community as a whole is a very celebratory and social bunch. What better way to tie the two together?

We invited a spirits professional to the Chicago office to host Latin Spirts, an event serving as both a history lesson and a sampling session of classic Latin libations. Covering the origins and production of Rum, Cachaça, Tequila, Mescal, and Pisco, it was the perfect opportunity to sip, learn, and relax.

Brave Space: “Where are you from?”

“So… what are you?” and “Do you speak Mexican?” are questions most Latinos have heard at least once in their lifetime. Growing up in a Latino household in the United States comes with its own set of experiences. It is not one size fits all. The range of geographies, dialects, and backgrounds can be difficult to comprehend.

Through Brave Space, we provided an outlet to discuss this general lack of understanding of the complexity of our population.


Zachary Caballero, a widely celebrated Mexican-American Poet from Austin, Texas, who has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Spoken Word Poet Who Speak to Diverse Latino Issues by the Huffington Post, will grace our stage to deliver a few of his best performances and share his perspective.

Natural Disaster Relief

At the start of planning for this year’s events, Hurricane Harvey had not yet made landfall, Maria was a name on a list and Mexico hadn’t felt a tremble. As these tragic events have unfolded, we’ve been working across our North American offices to provide ways to make a direct impact. Adelante Chicago will be culminating Hispanic Heritage Month with a fundraiser and donation drive next Friday, October 13th.  

Deeper than Despacito

As a half-Cuban first generation American with the majority of my closest friends being immigrants themselves, I’ve grown up with a unique window into both worlds, and have a particular interest in seeing this topic covered appropriately.

Working in an industry responsible for co-opting and perpetuating cultural norms, I believe we have a unique responsibility to shed light on all our experiences and make sure our voices are represented.

Being at Digitas, I’m proud that, as an organization, we strive for understanding and believe that success is not possible without inclusive teams and diverse opinions. Through Adelante and other resource groups, we have both the platform and organizational support to help navigate the nuances of an evolving Multicultural society.

The secret to making brands count is counting everyone.

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