View Full Version : Hispanic floor cleaner? Hispanic laundry detergent?

05-20-2002, 12:53 AM
I'm familiar with target marketing, but this seems to be going a bit too far.

In recent years, I'm seeing more products show up on store shelves with labeling that is predominantly in Spanish. There's a bit of English on there, and typically indications that the product was made in the United States, but it seems like it's a product made especially for Hispanics.

I'm not talking about Mexican Coca-Cola on U.S. store shelves, Gamesa cookies (where English is the dominant language of product labeling) or Bimbo bread. Fabuluoso floor cleaner concentrate, though, with about 80% of the product labeling in Spanish, made me think "hmmmmm." Burpee Seeds with special yellow, Spanish dominant packaging was another "WTF," especially considering that the seeds were for the same types of flowers and veggies as their "normal" seeds.

So, what's the Straight Dope? Why have marketers decided that there need to be special brands for Hispanics? Or ... is it something else, like a product meant primarily for Puerto Rican distrubution ending up on Stateside shelves?

Doug Bowe
05-20-2002, 02:28 AM
Look at your neighborhood.
It sounds like some market researchers have decided that it's changing.
You say you're already used to seeing Gamesa and Bimbo brands on the shelves. That suggests you already have a Hispanic presence in your area.

05-20-2002, 09:35 AM
Oh, my... you are getting Fabuloso in your store shelves? Do you get all the colors/scents?

Yeah, it's probably recognition of the changing customer base, if not in your neighborhood per se, in your general region.

05-20-2002, 09:52 AM
Oh, and as for the culturally-targeted brand names: this is more a situation in which, once upon a time, an enterprising American businessman said to himself: "You know, there are a heap of a lot of Latinos around, and growing by the day. Goya Foods sells millions of cans of tomato sauce to the people in the barrios with a product that is only different from Hunt's in that it's branded in a culturally familiar way and labeled in their language. Betcha I could play the same card with floor wax and carve myself a nice little niche."

OTOH, among some in our community some of the "hispanic-targeted" brands (specially the cleaning products) have an unfortunate low-rent aura to them (i.e. they feel for some reason that when "movin' on up" you should switch from Fabuloso to Mr. Clean... I say unfortunate, because they are prefectly adequate products)

05-20-2002, 11:59 AM
The area where I live in Central Florida is primarily middle to upper-middle income, blue-collar leaning Caucasian. You hear Spanish here and there, but it's not common.

The Mexican brand products like Gamesa and Bimbo were common in Northwest Denver (a primarily Mexican/Hispanic, although rapidly gentrifying area); I haven't seen much of that here.

The Goya comparison seems like the best explanation so far -- take some generic floor wax, package it with a yellow label and call it "Excellente," and put it up on store shelves.

The only other reason I could think of is what I call "grass is greener" marketing. It's implied that, becuse the product labeling is in Spanish, it was amde and meant to be sold "somewhere else," that is, in a country with few environmental or consumer regulations. Therefore, folks think the product is more authentic, or somehow stronger, than the U.S. market counterpart. When I lived in southern New Mexico, many vendors at flea markets sold Mexican market laundry detergent. "Ariel -- con phosphates!"

05-20-2002, 01:24 PM
Many of these products are sold in Latin countries and the people who buy them do so because they see a familiar product name. It is not a matter of what they think about the product name being written in Spanish, it is about familiarity with the product. :)

05-20-2002, 03:17 PM
Ha, I saw the title of this thread and thought it was some smart-*ss comment about Spic & Span....

05-20-2002, 04:30 PM
Ariel has phosphates? That's the detergent I used back home!!!

PD. JRD, is this the same Ariel they sell over there?

Bad News Baboon
05-20-2002, 05:04 PM
it's exactly what robcaro said.

Fabuloso, et al, are indeed sold in Mexico.

I was really surprised to see it sold at Target.

Karl, I am not sure where you are from, but the Ariel I used in Europe seemed exactly like the same as the one sold in Mexico.

Just out of curiosity, is a thing actually hispanic?
I thought Hispanic was in reference to People.

Barking Spider
05-20-2002, 09:44 PM
Go into your kitchen and take a look at the picture of Betty Crocker. Mmmmm.....

05-20-2002, 09:56 PM
Actually, I don't know about the Mexican version, but the Puerto Rican version of any product fulfills US specs, only labeled in Spanish.

And yes, I guess it would be accurately referred to as "Hispanic-market-brand products", rather than "Hispanic products"

Come to think of it, I would place better money on the "export" version of a product being cheap and watered down, as opposed to stronger. But that's just my own low opinion on how multinational businesses will treat their customer base :p

Doug Bowe
05-21-2002, 02:23 AM
Ariel is an Hispanic division of Proctor & Gamble.

05-22-2002, 01:28 AM
I'm a little disturbed by the fact the you are disturbed by marketers targeting consumers other than English speakers. As Doug pointed out, there are Spanish-speaking people in your area, so you have to accept seeing the Spanish language around. It's pretty obvious that people are more likely to buy a product if they can read the label and know what the product is. Otherwise, you might end up washing your hair with laundry detergent.

05-22-2002, 01:48 AM
Originally posted by chula
I'm a little disturbed by the fact the you are disturbed by marketers targeting consumers other than English speakers. As Doug pointed out, there are Spanish-speaking people in your area, so you have to accept seeing the Spanish language around. It's pretty obvious that people are more likely to buy a product if they can read the label and know what the product is. Otherwise, you might end up washing your hair with laundry detergent.

Uhhh ... I wasn't talking about bilingual labeling. I was talking about products that are inherently culturally neutral, such as dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent (not food), apparently manufactured and marketed for a Hispanic market. It's implied by product labeling and marketing that Mr. Clean is the Anglo floor cleanser, and Fabuloso is the Hispanic floor cleanser. What about a floor cleanser just for African-Americans? Can you find a special floor cleanser for Quebecois in Canada?

If you think that a Spanish speaker in a grocery store is going to pick up a box of Tide and think it's shampoo ... well, I'm disturbed at your underestimation of the intelligence of Spanish speaking American citizens and resident aliens. If I'm in a Gigante store in Puebla, I'm not going to mistake a can of tomato soup for motor oil.

Don't be so sensitive, looking for racism where it doesn't exist. There's a thread in the Pit about that -- you might want to have a look,

05-22-2002, 01:54 AM
That's a good point, Chula. :)
I've shopped in the "99 Cent" stores in the Los Angeles area; well, granted they have quite a few Hispanic customers, and bilingual labeling on the products is common. I see English, Spanish, and French labeling on many products, suggesting they can be sold to (literate) customers anywhere in North America, including Canada. The 99 Cent Store, however, has sold packages with different labeling as well: English and Japanese on plastic wrap, and English and Russian on cake mixes!
In The Ethnic Almanac the question is posed: "Do you suppose Spic and Span is a big seller in Hispanic neighborhoods?"

Bad News Baboon
05-22-2002, 07:34 AM
I know that mr clean is American, but it is sold in Mexico under the name :Maestro Limpio. same font. same bald guy. the only difference, and a cool one, I think, is that refills are sold in bags not bottles.

So to say that they have Fabuloso in order to appeal to hispanics' familiarity is not entirely correct.

Those 99 cent stores purchase buyouts of lots that weren't sold in stores. This is why you get the weird labling.

This is what Target gave me the impression of doing also. I think it was a bad move on their part not because they sold hispanic products, but because it gave them an air of "99 cent storeness".

They had a huge endcap of Fabuloso and softener but now they are down to 2 products of each on the shelves.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.