Today, 38 percent of Hispanics ages 18-29 are bilingual, an increase of 73 percent over the past decade. With this group’s increased size, spending power and influence, it’s no wonder that understanding how to connect with them—and in what language—is top of many marketers’ to-do lists. A neuroscience case study conducted by Nielsen in collaboration with Univision Communications Inc. and Starcom MediaVest Group’s Multicultural division, found that advertising in Spanish might offer the biggest benefit.
Participants in the study watched a selection of ads, some in English and some in Spanish, while their brain activity was measured. Researchers found the Spanish version of each ad “consistently performed the same or better than its English counterpart. Of the ads tested, no English ad performed significantly better than the same ad in Spanish.”
Spanish language advertising also resonated better in the context of television programming. Spanish ads were more emotionally engaging when aired within a Spanish program than English ads within English programming.
“Switching between languages requires increased attention and focus at the expense of emotional engagement and memory. When switching from a single-language program in one language to a single language ad in another, the viewers’ focus shifts away from the content itself and towards processing the language change.”
Because of consumers’ tough transition between languages, the study found that key messaging and branding should not be shown within 10 seconds of a language shift because those moments may escape comprehension, decreasing the effectiveness of the advertisement.