HERSHEY'S PRODUCT NAME SPARKS HISPANIC CONTROVERSY
New Cajeta Candy Aimed at Mexicans Rather Than
All U.S. Latinos
February 22, 2005
By Laurel Wentz
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) --
Hershey's made a controversial choice in promoting
its new U.S. Hispanic line with language familiar to
Mexicans, but not to other Spanish-speakers.
Hershey's Thalia line of candies is being expanded with a
new product called Cajeta Elegancita.
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La Dulceria Thalia products, a range of Hershey's
kisses, wafer bars and lollipops backed by Mexican
entertainer Thalia, are described in print and radio
ads and on packaging as made from cajeta, the
Mexican version of the caramel flavor known as dulce de leche in the rest of Latin America.
Marketers often agonize over
when to segment their Hispanic marketing by ethnic
group and when to target all Latinos.
"We use the term because 67%
of all Hispanics are Mexican and we're targeting
Mexicans," said a Hershey spokeswoman.
In some Latin countries, the word cajeta exists with a different meaning. In Argentina, for
instance, it has a very sexual meaning. In an
unscientific office poll, speakers of Mexican
Spanish all were familiar with cajeta ;
Puerto Ricans and Dominicans weren't.
"It could be some kind of
box," speculated an Ecuadorean, thinking of caja, the Spanish word for box.
"There is Walter Cronkite
Spanish," said Jose Cancela, principal of a new
Miami-based consulting firm, Hispanic USA. "Using a
word that is not known to 40% of the market is not
smart marketing. The U.S. Hispanic market is a
convergence of different people from all over the
world. We all use the same dictionary and that's the
Hispanic USA dictionary."
president of Chicago-based marketing services agency
Lazos Latinos and a speaker of Puerto Rican Spanish,
said, "Thalia is a great spokesperson for this
product. She appears genuine and convincing in the
ads and speaks to the sweet tooth a lot of Latinos
Other marketers are also
targeting the Hispanic sweet tooth. Entenmann's is
introducing its own range of products with flavors
like dulce de leche and pineapple under the brand
Hershey's recently moved La Dulceria Thalia from its
Hispanic agency, Omnicom Group's Dieste, Harmel &
Partners, Dallas, to its general-market agency,
Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, New York, a sign that the
company thinks the brand has some crossover
potential to the general market.