Selena Quintanilla Represents The Future of Hispanic Marketing & What Brands Can Learn From M.A.C. Cosmetics

March 31, 2016 marked 21 years since Selena Quintanilla’s death. But despite the passage of time, two things have remained the same: her influence and her fan’s undying loyalty. M.A.C. Cosmetics have taken notice of the indelible mark Selena has left in her fans by launching the M.A.C. x Selena line coming out October 2016. Why is Selena still relevant today and being used by top brands like M.A.C. Cosmetics in 2016? 

How M.A.C. x Selena Started

Patty Rodriguez started a petitioning M.A.C. to create a makeup line that represented Latino shoppers and Selena Quintanilla was selected because of what she means to our Latino community. Patty only asked for 5,000 signatures but received 37,771! The success of the petition and M.A.C.’s willingness to create a line for Selena’s fans not only demonstrates Selena’s influence among Latinos but key lessons marketers can learn when targeting Latino consumers.

What Brands Can Learn From M.A.C. Cosmetics

M.A.C.’s success among Latinos can be attributed to defying conventional wisdom given to marketers when targeting the Latino segment and harnessing the power of nostalgia. Common tips given when marketing to Latinos are to speak Spanish, produce bilingual content, or use cultural cues only marketers usually understand this as resorting to guacamole, soccer, telenovelas, or hypersexulized Latinos. If M.A.C. did want to devise a marketing campaign with cultural cues that resonated with Latinos but still mainstream enough they easily could’ve adopted the “Any Latino will do” mentality and tell Latinos who they think best represents them. M.A.C. succeeded among Latino consumers because they understood and listened to their Latino consumer and didn’t impose any ideas of what a role model should look like for our community. Lastly, the M.A.C. creating the M.A.C. x Selena makeup line tapped into some major nostalgia. Selena conjures up the 90s, red lips, bidi bidi bom bom, and that smile which amplifies and deepens the line ‘s success because of the positive emotions it triggers.

The M.A.C. x Selena makeup line came about organically but how M.A.C. took advantage of this opportunity is to be lauded for if the brand now enjoys support from Latino consumers, it will enjoy not only more Latino dollars but that coveted genuine relationship with the Latino consumer and brand loyalty so many other brands crave. In empowering Latinos with a platform to tell their own stories with their makeup, on their own terms, and with role models that deeply resonate with our community, M.A.C has not only set an example for other brands to follow but proven that brands can win the Latino dollar and effectively foster a relationship with the Latino consumer without speaking Spanish or resorting to any stereotypical cultural cues.

M.A.C.’s collaboration with fans resulted in something mutually beneficial which is smart marketing and the basis for a strong brand/consumer relationship. In M.A.C. (indirectly) using Selena as a foothold into the Latino community the brand effectively amplifies the relevance and reach of the brand among Latinos while Selena’s legacy has the opportunity to grow among M.A.C. consumers because fans will be interested in purchasing makeup inspired by Selena because of what she meant to them whether or not they are heavy makeup users (power of nostalgia) and existing M.A.C. consumers will become interested in learning about the makeup line’s inspiration.

Selena Represents The Future Of Hispanic Marketing

Selena represents the typical Latino statistically speaking: the quintessential bilingual, bicultural Latino that unapologetically took her place in both American and Latino culture that was U.S. born, Millennial, Mexican, bilingual, and 2nd+ generation Latino. In a world where Latinos are forced to decide between what world they want to belong to, Selena’s cultural duality demonstrates that it’s possible to embrace both American and Latino cultures which is massively empowering to Latinos and part of her appeal today.

Selena represents the future of Hispanic marketing because she represents two Latino demographics that are set to change the face of the Latino community and hugely important for all marketers to understand: the bicultural and English dominant segment. Despite the fact that her Spanish wasn’t her first language, Selena placed importance on commanding Spanish for her fan’s sake which resulted in Latinos from all acculturation levels accepting her because her effort to connect with them was sincere. Selena had something for every Latino: she used Spanish to connect with the Spanish dominant segment, her Mexican-American heritage to connect with bicultural, bilingual Latinos, and English and her Texas roots to connect with English dominant Latinos as well as the mainstream. Selena exhibited cross-cultural appeal making her marketer’s dream. Selena was sought out by mainstream brands like Coca Cola, S.C. Johnson (Agree Shampoo), and AT&T (CallNotes) to help them market their products in Spanish and English. Selena wasn’t too Latina to be inaccessible to the mainstream or too Americanized to not resonate with Latinos. It is this cross-cultural appeal that should be used as a model for brands selecting Latino influencers to work with when targeting Latinos.

Understanding M.A.C.’s success among Latinos and Selena’s cross cultural appeal is the key to unlocking the $1.5 trillion purchasing power and helps brands become more effective at targeting Latinos today. The fact that M.A.C. created a Selena makeup line in 2016 validates her mainstream appeal as a Latina. Some brands think that Latino influencers are limited to only appealing to Latino audiences but Selena disproves this notion. Brands should select U.S. born, bilingual, Millennial Latino influencers that appeal to Latino and mainstream audiences because this is the new Latino. The new Latino lives is multicultural, bilingual, lives in two worlds, and has friends that transcend ethnic and cultural lines. The new Latino despite growing up in the United States and perhaps learning English first desires to take his or her roots and language everywhere and pass it to their children. I want marketers to see Selena as a symbol of the new Latino and a guide to understand how cultural duality operates, how Latino culture as evolved, and how cross-cultural appeal is possible for Latinos.



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