How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Oprime el red button and order': Do burgers in Spanglish satisfy?

Screen shot from www.sonicdrivein.com/espanol


In a popular post last week, Latino media and social tech guru Giovanni Rodriguez addressed why it is that English-language content - and Spanglish content, in a growing number of cases - has become a favorite tool of advertisers trying to reach Latino customers.

On the use of Spanglish, he warned: "As we all know, there are lots of Latinos who easily navigate from English to Spanish, from Spanish to English. It’s natural for them. But it’s painfully obvious when Spanglish is unnatural. I wouldn’t advise a marketer to speak in Spanglish unless it made sense (the right message, the right messenger, and the right context)."

So here's one test: Given the above, does a Spanglish burger menu make sense?

Sonic, the Oklahoma-based fast food chain, has launched an experimental website that "presents Hispanic customers with relevant content in the language of their choice — Spanish, English or Spanglish, a combination of both languages," according to QSR Magazine (the acronym QSR stands for "quick-service restaurant.") From the story:

“It was important to engage our Hispanic customers by providing an online experience which parallels both their world and the feeling of visiting a nearby Sonic,” says Matt Schein, senior director of marketing for Sonic.

...“We go a step further and reflect our bicultural target’s lifestyle, combining the best of their Latino culture with their U.S. experience to create their unique world. Just like Sonic, they can create food combinations and dining experiences as unique as they are. "


The site is designed to look like what someone might see ordering from a car window. Maybe it's just me, but even after clicking on "Spanglish," most text was in Spanish. But one sees snippets like "About Nosotros" and, as the site launches at the top, "C'mon. Sabes what you want."

The new English-language Latino news site Voxxi appeared to have better luck navigating the Spanglish aspect of the cite, citing examples like “Ready? Oprime el red button and order” and “Personaliza tu world.”

Thoughts, anyone? Does this message/messenger/context equation work or not?

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