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RBFF ahead of curve when it comes to targeting Hispanics

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Frank Peterson, RBFF President and CEO: Planning to increase dollar spend to reach out to Hispanics.

The US sporting goods industry is under-spending when it comes reaching Spanish speakers, according to evidence produced by a leading data and insights company.

According to the Kantar Network TV spending report, network English language advertising spend for 2019 was $173m, while Spanish language spend was just $4m.

And the numbers don’t improve much for spot TV spending, with only $1m spent on Spanish spot TV by advertisers – just 2% of all spending in the category, despite Hispanics accounting for 52m of the US population.

The findings will resonate strongly with the Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation (RBFF), the organisation working on behalf of the fishing and boating industry to grow their customer base.

The RBFF has made the Hispanic community a key target for the last seven years and can be said to be ahead of the curve.

Indeed, buoyed by results so far and the potential for further growth, the RBFF plans to increase its investment in reaching and converting the Hispanic population to fishing.

“We started our Hispanic outreach campaign, Vamos A Pescar, in 2013 and the number of US Hispanics who fish has grown from 2.8m to 4.4m in that time,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. “Looking back further, the number has doubled in the last 12 years.

“Hispanic anglers have increased by almost 6% in the last three years and that growth is organic, not dependent on immigration. They also fish more times a year than caucasian anglers. 

“The Hispanic community has become more cultural and more bilingual and we have started using Spanish language to drive them to our English language website.

“They are sensitive to the fact that we are marketing to them in their own language and feel that our brand better understands them because no-one else is doing that.

“So we have decided to shift more of our budget dollars into Hispanic outreach than we had originally planned. Our primary objective remains to talk to audiences that will help this sport grow in the future, and the fastest growing of the multi-cultural groups is Hispanic.

“They also meet all the other key criteria. They enjoy outdoor activities, their households are larger, they take part as a family and fish frequently, which are all things we have been able to tap into.”

According to the Kantar report, the big spenders in English language advertising include Bass Pro Shops, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods. But of these, only Amazon is spending with Spanish language networks, while Bass Pro and Dick’s spend nothing.

Karla Fernandez Parker, a columnist for The Marketing Insider, believes sporting goods companies have the opportunity to get Hispanics up and moving to help with fitness and mental health – things that fishing offers in abundance. 

“This [low advertising spend among Hispanics] makes no sense at all, either pre-pandemic or given our current state,” says Parker. “We’ve all been looking for ways to keep ourselves and our kids active and safe. All of these demographic trends point to a prime opportunity.”

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