February 27th, 2009 -- While queuing up to get coffee at the Miami Beach Convention Center, I happened to meet two brothers who are the owners of Digicraft, an advertising agency based in Ghana (one of many, apparently). They were at the show looking for a printer, and were surprised at how many seemed to be exhibiting on the show floor. Our conversation not only boded well for the success of the show, but also gave a sense of the international flavor of the Graphics of the Americas show, which increasingly extends beyond the Americas.

Fast forward two hours and, after a short presentation by Printing Industries of Florida (PAF) President George Ryan and PAF Chairman Art Abbott (of Abbott Printing in Maitland)—the latter welcoming the crowd to “the best trade show in the Western Hemisphere”—at precisely 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 26, the ribbon was cut, officially opening the 34th annual Graphics of the Americas show. The show runs through February 28 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and is designed to be an educational and networking experience for graphic communications professionals. This year’s show includes sessions targeted for designers and print buyers, features winners of various design and print contests, a “car wrap center” in which printers are taught how to create vehicle wraps, 11 Spanish-only seminars, and a half-day Print Buyers Boot Camp conducted by Margie Dana of Print Buyers International and Frank Romano of RIT. Friday will also see the triumphant return of Chuck Weger’s Seybold favorite Publish or Perish! game show which will feature this writer as a contestant.

But First, the Previous Evening...

The opulent splendour—and checkered past—of the infamous Fontainebleau Hotel (about which more here: http://printceoblog.com/2009/02/a-gala-night-in-miami-beach) in Miami Beach was the setting for the Graphic Arts Leaders of the Americas (GALA) awards. This year’s recipients were:

  • Manual Grañen Porrúa of the Miguel Angel Porrúa publishing group, recipient of the Young Entrepreneur award;
  • Hans H. Wegner of National Geographic, recipient of the North American GALA Award;
  • Juan Carlos Sacco of MUTILABEL Argentina S.A., recipient of the Latin American GALA Award.

Bringing the Funny

Keynote speaker Dave Barry—humor columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary—began his talk with the caveat, “I am not an expert on printing.” He did, however, admit that he conducted some research on the Internet in preparation for this address, and discovered, much to his surprise, “there’s a lot of pornography on the Internet.” Barry’s one-hour talk careened through such topics as living in South Florida, where he moved in 1982 “from the United States”; local drivers (“people pass you in the car wash”); what should be the city of Miami’s new tourist slogan: “Come back: we weren’t shooting at you”; and his pride that the United States leads the world in Wienermobile technology. He spoke of his brief stint as a political “journalist” covering the 1992 New Hampshire primary and demonstrating his mastery of issues and stimulating conversation during a photo shoot with then-First Lady Barbara Bush: “I said to her, ‘I shop in the same supermarket as your son Jeb.’” He also detailed the brouhaha that emerged over a column in which he poked fun at the state of North Dakota’s attempt to lure tourists by removing the word “North” from their name. He received angry letters from every person in the state (“all 215 of them”), but he was invited to the state to attend the dedication of what was christened the Dave Barry Sewage-Lift Station. So if you ever find yourself in North Dakota (“like if your plane crashes there”) be sure to visit it in Grand Cities.

Barry summed up his career as a humor writer as “I sit in my underwear and make stuff up. Like a consultant, except I’d be wearing your underwear.”

The crowd of a couple hundred were kept laughing, but were also treated to an inspirational moment involving Barry’s favorite column, a touching story about overcoming obstacles that features the Oregon Transportation Division, a dead whale on a beach, and the several crates of dynamite that they used to try to remove the whale. (The original “explosive” news footage of this event can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGVkHl-nBhE.) “What lesson does this story teach us about the printing industry?” Barry asked, probably rhetorically. If nothing else, it teaches us that whale guts, when propelled through the air with enough force, can total a station wagon. But it also shows us that, no matter what fate hands the industry, we can always overcome adversity—just make sure not to call the Oregon Transportation Division.

Marketing to the Latin American Market

Thursday afternoon, HP sponsored a session called “Marketing to the Latin Market,” conducted by John Bord, President and CMO of Guevavi in Tubac, Arizona. The most important, if perhaps obvious—though often overlooked—issue involved in producing advertising and marketing materials targeted toward the Latin market is assuming that the “Hispanic” or “Latino” market is one large, undifferentiated group. In point of fact, individuals in the Latin market can come from any of 20 different countries, each with its own individual culture. Individuals in the Latin market can speak Spanish, English, Portuguese, or be bilingual, and even within a single language there may be subtle vocabulary differences. People in the U.S. Latin market can be assimilated into the general culture in varying degrees.

The demographics of the Latin market, said Bord, are worth sitting up and taking notice of. The U.S. Hispanic economy is estimated to be the ninth largest in the world, and will have a purchasing power that will reach $1 trillion by 2010. The Latin market is growing two-and-a-half times that of the general market. Studies of Hispanics and direct mail have found that 96% look at direct mail, 72% open and read the direct mail pieces that they receive, and 66% say they respond to direct mail. But then again, nearly 16 million U.S. Hispanics have access to the Internet, a figure that is growing rapidly. In terms of Hispanics on the Internet, 78% visit English-language sites and 76% say they are bilingual online. Ninety-four percent of Hispanics send text messages, and are fully embracing the digital lifestyle. The number of Hispanic-owned U.S. businesses is also growing rapidly.

In terms of where U.S. Hispanics are located, it is not just along the “traditional” border states of California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. The top 10 Hispanic states are estimated to have a disposable income of $687 billion. The fastest growing U.S. Hispanic markets are North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Nevada.

Individuals in the Hispanic market are also categorized by the degree to which they have adopted the country to which they have immigrated. That is, isolated individuals are new arrivals, and likely speak only Spanish, assimilated individuals have largely adopted the customs of their new country, and speak English or are bilingual, and acculturated individuals have completely adopted the traits and customs of their new country and speak predominantly English. In contrast to popular perception, studies have found that while 4% of first-generation U.S. Hispanics speak English, by the second generation the percentage of English speakers rises to 46%, and by the third generation it is up to 78%. This is not appreciably different from rates of English-language adoption of previous immigrant groups.

When marketing to the Latin market, the goal is cultural relevance. Bord stresses that the use of clean, effective databases, combined with customization and personalization, can help marketers align them and their brands with “Latin individuality and self-expression.” He also emphasized that Latin marketing should involve more than simply translating something designed for the general market into Spanish, that it’s necessary to design a campaign that is congruent with the beliefs, values, and attitudes of the intended target. It is also necessary to walk the often fine line between appearing to be “traditional” and “stereotypical.” Bord showed good and bad examples of direct mail pieces aimed at Hispanic audiences, and pointed out the often subtle but vitally important nuances that can make or break a successful promotion.

Anyone seeking to market to this growing and increasingly important demographic needs to pay attention to these myriad issues.

Prints Charming

Traffic on the show floor has been brisk, and booth traffic, from what I saw during my prowling the show floor, seemed healthy. Mutoh is sponsoring a popular “car wrap demonstration center,” showing the application of large-format graphics to a vehicle. Secreted away in far corner of the show floor is a display of the winners of the 2009 ADDY awards, bestowed by the American Advertising Federation. The ADDY awards are the world’s largest advertising competition, representing, says the AFF’s Web site (www.aff.org), “the true spirit of creative excellence by recognizing all forms of advertising from media of all types, creative by all sizes of and entrants of all levels from anywhere in the world.” Nearby are also the winners of the Florida Print Awards, awarded by the Printing Association of Florida.

And thus ended Day One of Graphics of the Americas.