Capital Media CEO on DRTV en Espanol for USA

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Capital Media Inc. is a full-service DRTV advertising agency specializing in the U.S. Hispanic market. CEO Nadia Ashrafian spoke about producing and adapting infomercials to reach this burgeoning segment of the U.S. population.

Q: What are the various options for marketers who wish to produce a show for the U.S. Hispanic market?

1. Adaptation of an original English language show into Spanish language. Most clients start here, due to the cost of original production.

2. Hybrid. In this scenario, elements of a given English language show would be re-shot in Spanish. Generally, host segments and testimonials. This new footage is incorporated into the existing footage, (demonstrations, etc.) resulting in a "hybrid" creation. This approach was recently used quite successfully for Dual Drill, Dual Action Cleanse and others.

3. Original Production. This is where the market will ultimately land. This will happen with time, after the direct marketing community has enough success stories to convince themselves that Spanish language original production is worth the investment.

Q: What are some of the differences in producing a show for Spanish-speaking Latin American countries versus the U.S. Hispanic market?

There really is no correlation between direct response in Latin America versus direct response for the U.S. Hispanic market. In the United States, direct response advertisers must achieve their goals via the credit card model. Cash on delivery enhancements do exist, but credit cards are the primary revenue generator among U.S. Hispanic targets. In Latin America, this model does not exist.

In U.S. Hispanic DRTV, an intentionally generic form of Spanish is used. The voice talent should be as accent neutral as possible, to avoid alienating a portion of the audience. In Latin American, idiomatic Spanish is the preference, appropriate to the county of airing.

Q: Could you give us some examples of DRTV campaigns that were successfully adapted from the general U.S. market to the U.S. Hispanic market? What were key factors in the successful adaptation of these campaigns?

The list is quite long, but it includes well-known names like Body by Jake, Six Second Abs, Dual Action Cleanse and the Dual Drill.

The keys to success include making the product relevant to the market; the quality of the adaptation; showing respect for the market; and adding nuance to the show in order to speak directly to the Hispanic audience, while never losing sight of the key elements of DRTV success, such as offers, bonuses, etc.

Q: Could you give us some examples of DRTV campaigns that were done as original in-language productions?

Matrix Direct, Ingles sin Barreras and Blue Hippo.

Q: Is there data to suggest that original in-language production in Spanish produces better results than adaptation from an English show, or can a good adaptation be equally effective?

A good adaptation can be equally effective in the short term, but like anything else, building a franchise requires long term commitment, brand focus, continuous reinvention of the product and communication.

Nadia Ashrafian is the CEO of Capital Media, San Juan Capistrano, CA. Reach her at nadia@capitalmedia.com
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