Increasing Diversity

Countries vary in their ethnic and racial makeup. At one extreme is Japan, where almost everyone is Japanese. At the other extreme is the United States, with people from virtually all nations. The United States has often been called a melting pot—diverse groups from many nations and cultures have melted into a single, more homogenous whole. Instead, the United States seems to have become more of a "salad bowl" in which various groups have mixed together but have maintained their diversity by retaining and valuing important ethnic and cultural differences.

Marketers now face increasingly diverse markets, both at home and abroad as their operations become more international in scope. The U.S. population is about 66 percent white, with Hispanics at 15 percent and African Americans at a little more than 13 percent. The U.S. Asian American population now totals about 5 percent of the population, with the remaining 1 percent made up of American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut. Moreover, more than 34 million people living in the United States—more than 12 percent of the population— were born in another country. The nation's ethnic populations are expected to explode in coming decades. By 2050, whites will comprise an estimated 47 percent of the population, while Hispanics will grow to just under one-third, African Americans will hold steady at about 13 percent, and Asians will almost double to 9 percent.28

Most large companies, from U.S. Procter & Gamble, Sears, Wal-Mart, Allstate, and Bank of America to Levi Strauss and General Mills, now target specially designed products, ads, and promotions to one or more of these groups. A For example, Energizer, the world's number-one battery maker, recently launched an award-winning campaign to introduce Spanish-speaking consumers to its Energizer Bunny. For many Americans, the pink bunny is an advertising icon synonymous with long-lasting batteries. The challenge was to make the Energizer Bunny just as recognizable to Hispanic immigrants who didn't grow up in the United States:29

Energizer teamed up with Latin Grammy-nominated musician Elvis Crespo and the band Camila to craft a Latin music campaign dubbed

Multicultural marketing: U.S. battery maker Energizer recently launched an award-winning campaign to introduce Spanish-speaking consumers to its Energizer Bunny.

"Musica Que Sigue y Sigue" ("Music That Goes On and On"). The musicians wrote and recorded the longest songs of their careers, tipping their hats to the bunny's reputation for "going and going and going." Energizer then used clips of the songs in television commercials that premiered during the Latin Grammy ceremonies. In the ads, Crespo sings in front of a huge mound of sheet music and Camila's lead singer fights a sore throat from singing so long. The goal of the ads, which aired on the Univision and Telemundo Spanish-language networks, was to drive people to Energizer's new Hispanic Web site, www.SigueYSigue.com. The site offers free downloads of Camila's 5-minute, 19-second, written-for-Energizer ballad, called "Amor Eterno" ("Eternal Love"), ring tones, and behind-the-scenes footage that has since popped up on YouTube. The site also allows visitors to upload their own original videos to contribute to the longest song. This site now draws tens of thousands of visitors each week.

Diversity goes beyond ethnic heritage. For example, many major companies have recently begun to explicitly target gay and lesbian consumers. According to PlanetOut Inc., a leading global media and entertainment company that exclusively serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, the U.S. gay and lesbian segment has buying power of $610 billion. PlanetOut's audience is twice as likely as the general population to have a household income over $250,000. A Simmons Research study of readers of the National Gay Newspaper Guild's 12 publications found that, compared to the average American, respondents are 12 times more likely to be in professional jobs, almost twice as likely to own a vacation home, 8 times more likely to own a notebook computer, and twice as likely to own individual stocks. More than two-thirds have graduated from college and 21 percent hold a master's degree.30

Featured in such hit TV shows as How to Look Good Naked, The Graham Norton Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Oscar-winning movies such as Brokeback Mountain and Capote, the LGBT community has increasingly emerged into the public eye. A number of media now provide companies with access to this market. For example, PlanetOut Inc. offers several successful magazines (Out, the Advocate, Out Traveler) and Web sites (Gay.com and PlanetOut.com). In 2005, media giant Viacom's MTV Networks introduced LOGO, a cable television network aimed at gays and lesbians and their friends and family. LOGO is now available in 27 million U.S. households. More than 60 mainstream global marketers have advertised on LOGO, including Ameriprise Financial, Anheuser-Busch, Continental Airlines, Dell, Levi Strauss, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Orbitz, Sears, Sony, and Subaru.

Companies in a wide range of industries are now targeting the LGBT community with gay-specific marketing efforts. For example, IBM, the renowned provider of computer products and services, fields a paid, full-time sales force dedicated to bringing LGBT decision makers in contact with the company. IBM also targets the gay small-business community with ads in the Advocate, Out, and 30 other gay-themed publications. American Airlines has a dedicated LGBT sales team, sponsors gay community events, and offers a special gay-oriented Web site (www.aa.com/rainbow) that features travel deals, an e-newsletter, pod-casts, and a gay events calendar. The airline's focus on gay consumers has earned it double-digit revenue growth from the LGBT community each year for more than a decade. And Levi's recently ran the same ad with different endings for gay and straight audiences:31

A spot from the jeans maker features a young, attractive male in his second-floor apartment slipping on his Levi's. The motion of yanking up his pants inexplicably causes the street below his apartment to get pulled up as well, crashing through his floor and bringing with it an equally attractive female in a telephone booth. In the end, the guy gets the girl. But if you watch the ad on gay cable network LOGO, the same guy with the magic jeans is greeted by a fetching blond gentleman, and the two of them run off together in the same manner as their heterosexual counterparts.

Another attractive diversity segment is the nearly 54 million adults with disabilities in the United States—a market larger than African Americans or Hispanics—representing

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