POLITICS

Spanish-Language Election Ad Numbers 'Disappointing,' Hispanic Chamber President Says

11/16/2012 12:40 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2012

Despite the talk of increased Latino-focused outreach in the 2012 elections, a report released Friday found that actual Spanish-language advertising made up only a tiny portion of overall ad spending this year.

The report from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and ad-tracking firm Kantar Media CMAG looked at ad spending in 10 states from January to November. The analysis showed that Spanish-language advertising made up 6 percent of overall spending -- $22.8 million of the $355 million total.

"Disappointing numbers here," Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez said of the report on a press call. "While there was an increase -- we were happy to see that -- we don't believe the increase was significant or commensurate with the importance of the Hispanic electorate."

Of course, not all Latinos get their news on Spanish-language television or even speak the language. But Spanish-language ads were the only advertising specifically targeted to Latino voters with pitches on how the economy, education and immigration.

The campaign for President Barack Obama spent about $2.7 million more on Spanish-language advertising than former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign. Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media CMAG, said the discrepancy on spending wasn't as significant as the targeting and total ads: Obama aired 15,355 ads in the 10 states, while Romney aired 8,697.

He also pointed out that advertising didn't seem to decide the election. But Obama did win Latino voters by a large margin over Romney, helping seal his election victory.

Palomarez said the report showed that neither party seemed to have gotten the message on Spanish-language advertising.

"Investment in Spanish-language advertising is a mere fraction of what it should be," he said. "Campaigns aren't effectively communicating with the Hispanic community. And both parties have a good bit of work to do if they want to keep up with what is America's vibrant and fastest-growing population."

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