I have seen the future. And it speaks Spanish (and English). When US voters consider their next president in 2016, they might be choosing between two Latino candidates – Julian Castro and Marco Rubio.
The US is changing. And there is no better place to see how and why than Miami – a city that has elbowed its way to join the top table of the traditional US adland hubs of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Houston. How has this happened?
Miami is now the unofficial crossroads between the US and its neighbours in Latin America. This is not such a surprising tag, when Florida has been officially bilingual for two decades and more than 40 per cent of its people speak Spanish in their homes.
But Miami is more than a melting pot of pan-American peoples and their linguistic and cultural heritages. It is an economic powerhouse, not just in marketing and advertising but commerce and technology in general.
And, unlike many parts of the US, the city and state also have a fast-growing population, fuelled by youthful locals and their larger-than-average families, plus the continuing migration from northerly states and nations to the south.
Given a market of this size and potential, predictably the major ad networks have established their presence. Here, we have Omnicom’s Alma, WPP’s Y&R Miami and Bravo, and Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s US headquarters in Miami’s Coconut Grove. Though, of course, there are still local independents such as La Comunidad.
Miami is more than a melting pot of pan-American peoples and their linguistic and cultural heritages
You’ll find a big client presence as well, such as Burger King and the Latin American offices of Kraft, Microsoft, Britvic and American Airlines, to name but a few. The world’s two biggest cruise line operators, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival, are based in Miami.
The "Hispanic market" is not homogenous. US Hispanics – even first generation – do not identify themselves as Hispanic per se. They consider themselves Argentinian Americans or Cuban Americans or Colombian Americans.
So Miami agencies – as much as agencies in other US cities, if not more so – need to recognise the diverse language, culture, expressions and attitudes towards services or products. This means that the right campaign for Panama could fall flat in Los Angeles.
In Miami, digitally focused agencies have set out their stall to cater for consumers from, or living in, the Latin world – from people of Mexican descent to Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Argentinians and so on, including Colombians like me. Multiculturalism is a way of life in Miami’s business, marketing and social scenes. One size does not fit all and successful Miami agencies understand this. Diversity here is the norm, not the exception.
Juan Pablo Munevar is the social media lead at Oliver