The RLB

Aug 28

Perspective of the Agency from a Nueva Lermana

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By: Sydnee Bush, Social Strategy Intern

When I walked into Richards/Lerma on my first day, I expected a warm welcome (no pun intended with the reality of Dallas weather), many new faces, and the smell of coffee. I didn’t get what I expected; I got more. I was greeted with hugs instead of handshakes, fresh smiles instead of just faces, and Clamato instead of coffee. With the consideration of only being in Texas for 72 hours and starting work at an agency I had only visited via Google Maps, you can imagine the mezcla of apprehension, nervousness, and excitement flowing through my veins. This is my sixth week at R/L, and I am happy to say that the apprehension and nervousness have ceased and I have survived on excitement alone.

Being that I’ve always been on a creative track (copywriting), I never saw myself pursuing a career in social media or digital, but as a social-savvy Millennial, this discipline is second nature. The most rewarding part is that, in addition to social listening and moderation, I get to leverage my writing skills daily when developing content for client and internal work. Although I started taking Spanish classes in kindergarten, minored in Spanish in college, and studied abroad in Argentina, my ability and confidence to speak Spanish has improved even more in my short time here.

The beauty of my internship here at Richards/Lerma is that I truly learn something new every day (yes, even things unrelated to advertising). I can’t wait to see how my time here will unfold, and I’m glad to be “una Lermana!”

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Aug 21

Richards/Lerma Exchange Program - Week 4

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The Richards/Lerma Exchange Program is officially over and Jorge and Pablo have safely returned to their home countries. Read their reflections from the past month and the biggest takeaways from their experience.

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Pete, Aldo, and Guillermo for making this experience possible for Pablo and me.

Even as I try to reflect on a month, I find it very difficult to believe it was only 30 days, and at the same time that it flew by so quickly. I was very fortunate to not only experience the creative processes and environment of another office, but also of another country. My relatively young career in advertising has been very unique for many reasons: I was educated in the U.S., I work side by side with an amazing cast of people from around the world, and I recently had the opportunity to learn what is done differently in Argentina, one of the most creative countries in the world.

I am nothing but confident this exposure can only mean growth as an art director that will happily transfer to my projects and clients. Through this experience, I bring back new procedures, new ways of thinking, and fresh approaches and techniques. In a nutshell, I return with more strategies to attack the ever-challenging tasks of coming up with memorable, world-class advertising.

The cast assembled in Furia is one of the tightest-knit families I’ve ever seen and had the pleasure to be part of. It is never where you are or what you’re doing, but rather who you’re with in those moments. The guys at Furia have become great colleagues and, more importantly, friends.

Lastly and most important, I’d like to thank anyone and everybody who has been part of this experience. You’ve made it unforgettable. Thank you for the hospitality, the memories, and the laughs.

Ciao for now.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

I’m back! Back in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, and at Furia. I arrived feeling strange because I had gotten used to Richards/Lerma (“R/L”), the Texas weather, and the people. After spending so much time living elsewhere, it is almost impossible not to recap and make comparisons. It makes you appreciate everything you have and understand how different (or not) we are. Working at R/L made me realize the value of team work and to respect ideas, the process, etc. 

I was very lucky to get this opportunity at this stage of my life. I grew a lot this month, and my only hope is to prove this at work and share with my peers everything I’ve learned from this exchange.

A month passed by so fast that I feel as if I were only gone a weekend. I was lucky that from the beginning everyone was good to me. I don’t have enough words other than thank you. Thank you to Pete Lerma, Aldo Quevedo, and Guille Tragant for trusting Jorge and me to be the first selected for this exchange program. I have no doubt that this program will make the three agencies continue to grow together, that the distances between the three countries will seem increasingly shorter. 

Thank you very much, and see you again tomorrow as always. :)

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To follow the Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange Program, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Aug 14

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 3 

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

If I’m lucky, when my fellow art directors Lina Puentes and Christian Sendra are unavailable – on vacation, out sick, or too busy – I’ll get to help out and direct art for other brands, such as The Home Depot or Ram. Otherwise, I concentrate solely on MetroPCS, Clamato, and Chrysler. Honestly, the days when I can touch multiple brands and help the agency across several accounts have become my favorite. Those days give us art directors and creatives alike the break we may need from a routine.

In a typical day, I (along with the team) focus on fewer accounts. We’re still busy and being pulled 20 different ways from here to Sunday, just with fewer brand managers.

Furia, our Argentina office, has a different method to the madness. Each and every art director and copywriter is used to his or her advantage and capacity. No account or client belongs to one creative. It is spread around based on need and timing. Easily the most shocking and most welcoming aspect of this exchange has been the ease of multitasking within the agency. I’ve worked on presentations for Google in the morning, fleshed out concepts for an Argentinian national newspaper after lunch, and finished up the day by creating visual graphics for Argentina’s national highway ministry.

Is the next day the same? Not if you’re lucky. I have to complete concepting and packaging for Edding markers, apply the latest feedback to a Chrysler presentation, and proofread several pieces that need to be done in English, since English is my first language. Like I said, everyone is used to his or her strengths.

I’ve been lucky enough to witness and participate in how these two very distinct office processes come together to achieve big projects, win pitches, and help each other out when one office is being overwhelmed. I’m sure our Mexico office also has a unique operating method. 

The goal is the same within the three offices: Don’t let anything out the door without meeting high standards in all disciplines. If anything, the different paths we each take helps us find new avenues of approach, global views, insights, and unexpected solutions.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

My final week has arrived. I have spent a month enjoying this beautiful experience and feel that this balance not only has enriched me professionally but also personally. Working with a team that made me feel welcome ​​from the beginning – and where the strong team spirit makes everything possible – has made my experience very pleasant.

I didn’t want the final week to come, but here we are. Although I miss Argentina, it’s going to be difficult for me to leave. 

This week was super-productive, working with brands such as MetroPCS, The Home Depot, Clamato, and Kendall-Jackson. It has been a great experience working with major brands. I have learned a lot by working, but I also have gained insight into customs here that only can be learned by living it, watching it every day on the street, and through the people. 

It has been a month in which I could play someone else and never feel like a tourist. I think that is what made this exchange worthwhile: to feel, think, and sound like someone from Dallas. 

I now dream like someone from both Dallas and Argentina. I hope I can relay my time here to my peers in Buenos Aires so that everybody can grow through my experience. Hopefully our next job will find us near each other again … without using Skype.

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To follow the Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange Program, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Aug 07

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 2

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See how Week 2 of our summer exchange program went for Jorge and Pablo as they enjoy their new surroundings in Buenos Aires and Dallas.

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

How’s my second week in Buenos Aires? 

Initially, I can’t say I was too excited about not having personal transportation. I wasn’t looking forward to rubbing elbows, having to breathe so close to folks on the bus, and especially being forced to use rails (for balance) that surely have been used by those in the world who don’t fancy washing their hands after using the restroom (I still carry hand sanitizer everywhere). I’ve warmed up to people-watching. I’ve even befriended several “regulars” whose curiosity has been piqued by my foreign accent. I’ve come to embrace the challenge it is to ride a speeding bus without using rails. And I certainly can’t find anything wrong with having an extra 40 minutes of reading time in my day. I’m currently reading A Bear Called Paddington: His First Adventures, if you must know.

It is extremely difficult to compare food of any country objectively. I’ve always loved food, and plan to do so for the rest of my life. I’m fortunate enough to have eaten dishes from around the world. The hype for Argentina’s food has lived up to every review from Yelp, co-workers, friends, and foodies. French fries are Argentina’s preferred side dish. They accompany almost every meal, but I’ve yet to see a bottle of ketchup. Argentina stands out in all that is beef. One would think that’s a hard statement to swallow for someone from Texas, but rest assured: Texas still owns BBQ and fried food. Argentina has mastered beef. Enough said. I’m up to 17 different types of cuts from the cow, if you must know.

I’m very proud to say that my Spanish has improved exponentially since joining Richards/Lerma. I consistently ask friends at the office to correct me if I say something wrong, because at the end of the day, Tex-Mex Spanish was my second language, not actual Castilian Spanish. In the short time I’ve been there, I feel more confident about speaking it, writing it, and expressing myself in Castilian Spanish.

I’m back to square one here. The Spanish in Argentina is another thing: new intonations, new inflections, new volumes – the accent mark here is a whole different beast, and there are so many new words and phrases. Needless to say, I’m absorbing and loving the new words, lingo, and slang being tossed around. Like a sponge, I ask what this or that means both in “Argentinian Spanish” and colloquially. I’ve learned 36 new Spanish words, if you must know (and, no, they’re not mostly curse words).

I have projects I’m new to on my desk (more of that to come next week). I’m working side by side with colleagues I’ve only known or seen via Skype. And I have been introduced to the simple beauty of a choripán. I’ll probably gain 7½ pounds from this exchange. I’m 5,277 miles from home. And I’m enjoying every second of it, if you must know.

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La Basílica de San Nicolas (Above)

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El Salón Blanco de le Casa Rosada (Above)

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Recoleta Cementerio (Above)

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

It’s the second week of this great experience. I’m in a second wind and starting to see things differently. I’m starting to really feel the routine. I know the usual time to get up, and see the same faces on the train. I’m not traveling anymore. I’m in Dallas. It is a very strange feeling, since it is for only a limited time, but my head believes that I’ve been here forever.            

In these two weeks, I have had the opportunity to learn many of the processes used by creatives. I was able to assist with an annual campaign, to present and sell it. The craziest thing is that while writing this blog post, I saw that the client approved the campaign.

I don’t really know if time goes by faster here or if it is pure coincidence. What I do know is that people here respect time, process, and each person’s contribution to the agency. It’s possible for ideas to come from creative, planning, etc. I also see how dialogue with the client can be so fluid that it becomes part of the process as well. 

The truth is that I feel very comfortable here and am trying to enjoy and benefit from the entire experience. I just hope it doesn’t go by too fast.

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The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (below)

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Real Madrid v. AS Roma game at the Cotton Bowl (below)

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To follow the Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange Program, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Jul 31

Richards/Lerma Summer Exchange - Week 1

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Richards/Lerma has officially started its summer exchange program between its U.S. and Argentina offices. Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma, and Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia, are the first to participate in the program.  In a literal “Mi casa es tu casa," both are living in each other’s home, working on each other’s projects, and living each other’s lives.  See how their first week went below!

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By Jorge Rosales, Art Director at Richards/Lerma

What once was Dallas is now Buenos Aires. 

What once was a stretched landscape that required driving to reach a location has been replaced by a condensed city, buzzing around the clock. Buildings, structures and landmarks fight for the same real estate. What one can see in three city blocks in Buenos Aires can take a 10-minute drive in Dallas. Shops opening, residents sweeping their sidewalk, dogs being walked, and of course the bus driver who apparently is not trying to pick up a fare, but simply treating his route as a speedway course are just a few of the events I’ve witnessed daily in my first week.

What once was a mundane eight-minute commute in Dallas is now a 45-minute people-watching expedition by foot and bus. The slow migration of residents that takes place from neighboring apartment buildings leads to multiple bus stops in the morning. The bus fills and overfills with individuals who can tell where they are and where they must get off just by the speed bump count and turns taken, so as not to take their eyes away from their phones or morning paper.

What once was an office with 30+ friends who doubled as colleagues separated by distance with minimal décor and a rock band setup is now a homely, eccentric office inhabited by 10+ friends who also double as colleagues. The walls are filled with what I believe is the best invention of all time: books. There are shelves, rows and stacks of books with the sole purpose of creative inspiration to any who lend their time and attention. Peppered along these shelves are a plethora of trinkets that must have an interesting story as to how they came to sit on these walls.

Not all has changed.

What once was an agency filled with talented individuals, ambition and innovative thinking is still the same. The standards and expectations set for all work with the stamp of Richards/Lerma or Furia transcend all manmade boundaries.

I look forward to embracing the subtle differences between advertising lives in Dallas and Argentina.

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By Pablo Cerezo, Art Director at Furia

My day started at 7 a.m. Yes, 7 in the morning! I checked my phone and saw the temperature was over 35°C, though it seems that it’s going to be higher than that.

I take a shower, have breakfast and go to the agency…like a zombie, not only because I feel like a dead man at that hour, but because there was nobody on the street. Nobody. It was empty like a ghost town! Everyone moves here by car even for small distances. Dallas is very different from Buenos Aires where everyone moves by bus, train or car, but you can handle every option. Dallas seems to live in the middle of a “Scalextric” where everyone moves, and nobody has time for rest.

Finally I ARRIVED AT THE AGENCY! And that’s when I do not feel foreign. The first week was intense, but the journey and the workgroup have flown well. It makes you want to work and be involved in each project, and that makes the time go by. And although you woke up early, you keep working and working… 

From the beginning, everyone at the agency has pointed out to me that this is also my agency. These are my accounts, my projects, and although we are physically in three different offices, we work and we are just one.

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To follow the summer exchange program, check out the Richards/Lerma Facebook and Instagram pages.

Jul 21

What “Multi-Screen-Tasking” Means For Brands

By: Megan Taylor, Brand Planner

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At some point we have all been guilty of “watching” TV, meanwhile browsing on our tablet or live tweeting via our smartphone. I do this all the time, and it’s a habit I should kick, but this is the reality of today (sorry, Mom). The truth is, it is getting harder to find single-screened households. If you don’t believe me, here are some facts: The average household has somewhere around 4.4 devices, 2.6 devices per member – and the number increases to 3.2 when it is a teen.    

This may sound like a lot, but the barriers that once kept people from adopting devices are slowly diminishing. The entry price points are much lower than before, accessibility to the Internet has gotten easier, and with a wide selection of name-brand and off-brand products, there is bound to be something for you.

More devices and multi-screens in households and the outside world – what does that mean for brands, and more importantly advertising? What is the impact on reach when you mix TV and digital video? Can you measure them together? All good questions, and I happen to have the answers.

I recently attended a YuMe event, where a first-of-its-kind research report – called “Mix + Measure, Exploring the Impact of Multi-Screen Mixology” – was presented. YuMe partnered with Nielsen and found some interesting results that will impact how brands approach their advertising media mix.

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In a nutshell:

By no means do the findings suggest traditional media is dead and gone. It does, however, clearly point out that brands and advertising agencies need to be cognizant that TV and digital make a bigger impact together than apart. We know multi-screens are the new reality. Now let’s have a conversation with consumers.

If you are interested in reading the full report, follow this link:

http://www.yumeresearch.com/ 

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 17

The Power of Storytelling – Game of Thrones Style

By: Rachel Castro, Brand Planning Intern

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS 

What do Sunday nights in spring mean to you? If they mean treason, blood, sex, kings, and an eternal winter, then you are like me and the other 7 million people who watch Game of Thrones (GOT), HBO’s fantasy drama.

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Image Credit: Cersei Lannister at Game of Thrones Fan Art 

This phenomenon is not limited to the United States. This TV show has been successful worldwide and across different cultures. So what is so intriguing about watching people eliminate each other in the most unthinkable ways, frozen zombies, and men fighting over a throne that, in my opinion, looks very uncomfortable?   

Why are people so worried that author George R.R. Martin might die before he finishes this amazing story? Don’t worry, guys; GOT screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss already considered that and know how GOT will end, so they have us covered. Some people just don’t understand the obsession with GOT. I think I do, so I’ll share my humble opinion. 

Benioff and Weiss are primarily responsible for the success of GOT – besides the acting, of course. They have mastered the art of storytelling, and GOT is all about that. While Martin’s books are rich in detail and imagery, they are also difficult to read and understand at times. The screenplay writers have managed to explain the story in an interesting and engaging way for TV. 

Everything is really dramatic: The animated opening of the show depicting the seven kingdoms (in our business, infographics and animation can help us to present information because it is an easier way for people to understand facts, numbers, etc.); the killing off of a main character in the first season; and the surprising mayhem during the red and purple weddings.

What can we learn from this successful TV show? How we can make our brands be the conversation piece on social media like GOT, which dominates social media outlets on Mondays?

The answer: Dynamic storyline + complex characters + unpredictable plot lines + creativity + powerful themes = outstanding entertainment.

Great storytelling is a key tool for entertainment. When viewers find good, entertaining content, they are engaged. They get intimately connected with the characters and their stories. Brands should do the same with their customers, because in the end, it’s all about human connections. We need to add this element to the equation. 

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Nowadays, we have more ways to connect with our consumer. YouTube is one way to make that connection. Three of the top 10 most-viewed videos on YouTube last year were ads. This means people actually want to watch ads, especially if the ads provide good content.  

In GOT, you either win or die. In our case, either you create good and engaging content or you will lose customers to other brands. Let’s take advantage of this and use it to our benefit. 

And for those of you who haven’t seen the show, I encourage you to join the dark side. 

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 14

Cannes Es Una Fiesta

By: Guillermo Tragant, Principal/Creative Director

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a party. A party of insights, of points of view, of opinions, of trend spotting, of keyword buzz. A celebration that connects us with colleagues, clients, vendors, advertising legends, friends, competitors, and most important of all, it connects us with the reason we started to work in this business: Ideas.

Here are some of the images I took during the week, and some random keywords that I wrote in my notes:

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With Luis Messianu (Alma) and Andy Fogwill (Landia)

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Ben Silverman, Founder of Pinterest

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Diego Bracamontes, Creative Excellence Director - Coca Cola México  

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With Marta Fontcuberta Rueda (Coca Cola México)  

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With Luciana Gomez (Dieste) and Ciro Sarmiento (Dieste)

Remember that time? The time when we worked in advertising and people had this dream of quitting their jobs to do art, or write a book, or create products, or do games, films, or installations? Well, advertising just turned into all the things we used to dream about doing in our spare time. This is a great time to be in this industry and have fun. Anything is possible.

I came home excited and full of energy to face the rest of the year. I feel happy and encouraged to do better work with my team.  The good and the bad is that we had to go all the way to the beach in France to realize this…though I am not complaining.

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Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 10

Say Hello to Generation Z

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Image Courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By: Alfredo Pina, Brand Manager

If you work in the ad industry or any arm of marketing, or you simply don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term Millennial(s), less commonly referred to as Generation Y. For over a decade, Millennials have been the over-researched focus of nearly every marketing effort.

This is the youthful generation that saw the birth and evolution of the Internet, the modern cellphone (from a 1980s brick to a mini-computer), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. But Millennials are also a generation of the past, of Myspace, of dial-up, of house phones, of AOL discs, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Biggie, Tupac, and Nirvana.

There’s a quiet focus growing on a new generation whose members are not even old enough to drive. They’ve never had a home phone number. They don’t know what the “Yellow Pages” are. They will likely never send a fax, use a pay phone, or own a VCR.

Say hello to Generation Z.

This is the first truly digital generation. They’ll never know an offline world without instant access, anywhere, anytime. Their parents post sonogram images of them online before they are even born. They learn to use iPads and iPhones before simple addition, subtraction, or division – and in some cases, even before speech.

They’re growing up during a U.S. recession, and this country has almost always been at war the majority of their life, yet their flow of information and news is so self-curated that they can largely go unaware (hint to marketers). They are the generation of an obesity crisis, of Internet celebrities, and online dating, and yet they’re optimistic, aspirational, and seek unconventional paths to success (professional bloggers, reality show stars, app inventors). 

With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine the difficult road ahead for companies hoping to reach Gen Z. How will they lump together a massive generation becoming more culturally segmented each day? How will media reach an audience that tunes out advertising and has a seemingly endless array of options for entertainment? How will a brand appeal to a profitably large consumer segment and make a real connection? It’s too early to know all the answers, especially with whatever technological advances we’ll see in the next two decades, but now is the time to shift focus toward Gen Z.

For more information on Generation Z, check out the following reports:

JWT Intelligence - Gen Z: Digital In Their DNA 

Sparks & Honey: Meet Generation Z

Learn more about Richards/Lerma and follow us on Twitter.

Jul 07

U.S. Hispanic Wine Culture: An Investigation

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By: Chaille Alcorn, Brand Planner

At some point in my adolescence, I developed a passion for uncovering counterintuitive and often counterculture truths. This passion eventually festered into utter contempt for specious reasoning. Today, much of my work as a brand planner is driven by this contempt.

In fact, my blood pressure just rose as I typed that.

Today, to give you a glimpse of what I mean, I want to take you behind the superficial curtain of reasoning used to explain a specific Hispanic consumer behavior. 

U.S. Hispanics’ Lagging Wine Consumption

According to the experts, to bring Hispanic wine consumption up to the level of the typical U.S. consumer, consumption would need to increase by nearly 50 million cases over the next 20 years. 

But why the lag? It’s not like Hispanics aren’t drinking alcohol, right? To explain, a lot of fingers get hastily pointed at three superficial and/or speculated truths:

  1. A strong cultural connection with beer, tequila, and mezcal
  2. A sweeter palate and flavor profile
  3. A perception that wine doesn’t go well with Mexican food

The first thing that should tip you off as to why these “truths” might need some challenging is the lack of research. Hispanics-and-wine is a fairly new topic of discussion. This means wine CMOs have yet to pump the big bucks into research that teases out the consumer intricacies. Groupthink runs rampant during this gestation period. One report gets recycled, cited, and cannibalized over and over. It’s a deceptive phase that can hinder thinking if not taken lightly. 

So, I did some digging of my own.

Because around 70% of the U.S. Hispanic population is of Mexican decent, the first place we need to look to understand the root of the lag is the history of Mexico and wine. And when we do this, a stronger story reveals itself:

1597

With the arrival of the Spanish, Mexico began making wine, making it the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas.

1699

Charles II of Spain prohibited wine making in Mexico.

1821

Mexico achieved independence, large-scale wine production was back on the table, and the Mexican wine industry began to rise steadily.  

1910-1920

The Mexican Revolution set wine production back again.

Today

Mexico is at the bottom of the wine-drinking nations list; on average, people drink only half a liter per year. North of the border, here in the United States, average consumption is 20 times higher.

In short, hiccup after hiccup after hiccup changed the course of a nation poised initially to be a renowned and well-established wine country, and a hefty tariff (~40%) keeps wine just out of reach of many who can’t and (due to lack of familiarity and custom) don’t want to justify the expense.

So the next time someone makes a crack or definitive statement about Mexicans’ strong cultural connection with beer, tequila, and mezcal, tell them that they’re right, but only somewhat. Tell them that emotional connections are products of familiarity and accessibility, and that even the most seemingly intangible and inherent cultural artifacts are usually rooted in something practical. When superficial, unchecked insights like “food pairing perceptions” and “sweeter palates” get thrown around, call B.S. on those easy, seductive arguments. 

Most importantly, the next time you get a whiff of that fishy groupthink smell, do some digging of your own.

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