If Latinos Can Influence a Presidential Election Imagine Their Potential Impact on Your Brand

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Hispanic / Latino


Jorge Martínez-Bonilla

Senior Vice President, CultureBeat

It was 1997 when iconic Mexican band Molotov released their Donde jugaran las ninas? album. Around the same time, three of my friends and I spent close to two months in Mexico for a cultural exchange program; Molotov’s rebellious anti-establishment songs filled the air everywhere we went, and we loved it!

Molotov was already controversial and broke tradition in many ways, from eclectic sounds and poignant lyrics to the fact that their drummer, Randy Ebright, was a gringo. That alone made the band cool, not because Randy was a shiny “token” but because it was a very vibrant example of integration and racial divides brought down through art and popular expression.

The song, Voto Latino (Latino Vote), had a special effect on people: wherever we were, people got energized by the song’s lyrics. Here we were, four foreigners from El Salvador, singing Molotov at the top of our lungs while being embraced by our Mexican brothers from all walks of life. Poor and rich, white and brown, tall and short… everybody welcomed us to their culture by creating a bond that ultimately led me to do what I do now: trying to further the growth and progress of all people through cultural understanding (yes, that can be achieved through Market Research as well). In short, Voto Latino is an outcry for integration, racial equality, the end of racism, tolerance, cultural embracement and the unification of people.

Much has been said over the past year about the importance of the Latino vote (and other minorities’); both major parties have tooted their horns and gone to unprecedented lengths to appeal to the Latino voter, with the belief that the Voto Latino can tip the scale and decide who will sit in the oval office over the next 4 years. Perhaps Randy and his bandmates had a crystal ball or simply were way ahead of their time; perhaps like they did almost twenty years ago, all of America will come together as one, regardless of race and culture to push this country forward and continue the path toward tolerance and understanding.

I’m a marketer, what do I care?” you might say. Allow me to suggest that, if Latinos (and African Americans, Caucasians, Asian Americans and people of all colors and cultures) can help determine who leads the nation; perhaps they can also influence your brand’s success (they already do by the way).

PS. Listen to Molotov when you get a chance. Be forewarned though: some of their songs are best suited for adults and not for the weak of stomach. Some may find their artistic moves and undertones a bit too provocative.

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