Effectiveness of Imagery

Taylor & Bang (1997) conducted a study in which they attempted to analyze the portrayal of Latino Americans in U.S. magazine advertising, wherein they concluded that:

The most prevalent concern involving portrayals of Latino Americans in magazine advertising is a severe under-representation of the group. Currently, Latinos represent 10.5% of the U.S. population. In our sample just 4.7% contained a Latino model, and only 2.25 contained a Latino model in a major role. Our data indicate that Latinos are the most under-represented of the three major minority groups in U.S. magazine advertising.

With the images in advertising, such as the case in magazine advertising, being that of mainstream or Anglo America, how can the recent increase in consumption of Corona amongst the Hispanic, and more specifically Mexican-American, population be explained? Merideth (as cited in Khermouch, 1995) stated that only, "five years ago, Hispanics wanted to assimilate as fast as they could by adopting brands like Budweiser and Marlboro, and now Corona is as 'a way to say to say I'm proud of my heritage and the country I came from.'" The advertising for Corona has not changed over the years in that they continue to feature Anglo-Americans in the major roles in exotic landscapes and "fun-in-the-sun" imagery resonating throughout all advertising and marketing efforts (Khermouch, 1995).

The image of Mexico that is portrayed to the U.S. consumer is essential for success of any potential exported Mexican product, and certainly beer is no exception. Bellas (as cited in Sfilgoj, 1998) states that, "Americans have a very good image of Mexico as a fun, sunny vacation/resort destination. Consumers' affinity to the country seems to have spilled over to include beers brewed there." This appeal is again for escapism, something that is targeted to mainstream America (Anglo America) and not specifically or especially Mexican-American or other Hispanics. An appeal that is more associated with Mexican-Americans is one that involves the use of family imagery. Hispanic families on average are much larger, 5.8 people per family, than their Anglo-American counterparts, 3.5 people per family (Dr. M. Roberts, personal communication, November 23, 1998).

The images of Mexico as a carefree and fun place to vacation does not coincide with image that many Mexican-Americans themselves have for Mexico. They see Mexico as a place where they derive their heritage from, and Mexico represents a source of pride for many Mexican-Americans. That heritage is based in hard work and tradition that is not seen in an ad that features two Anglo-Americans strolling down a sandy beach.