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Spanglish Is the New Ad Lingo

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Spanglish Is the New Ad Lingo

Spanglish Is the New Ad Lingo

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(Soundbite of theme)

Unidentified Male #1: What's the New What? I say disrespect is the new chivalry.

Unidentified Female #1: Check this out. Thai-food restaurants are the new Mexican-food restaurants.

Unidentified Male #2: Unprotected sex is the new engagement.

Unidentified Female #2: Killing is the new fighting.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And now our weekly series What's the New What, a series of commentaries from Youth Radio. Today Luis Sierra says ad executives are finally paying attention to him.

LUIS SIERRA: What's the New What?

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Male: Hey loco, I kept trying to call you at...

SIERRA: Spanglish is the new ad lingo. Spanglish is what marketers are using to sell everything from the war in Iraq...

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Male: I'm a soldier. You're a soyular(ph).

SIERRA: To Burger King's fusion food, chicken fries.

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Male: (Spanish spoken)

SIERRA: But don't get it twisted. Spanglish, code-switching between English and Spanish has been around for a long time. And you can hear it everywhere Spanish speakers live and communicate with one another. I mean, the last time I was driving from my school parking lot with my friend, I found myself saying hey, there, (Spanish spoken), just step on the breakas. When meaning to say, hey look, a parking space. Just step on the brakes. But according to Catarino Lopez(ph), creative director of Browning Communications and maker of the BK Chicken Fries commercial, no-one will be stepping on the breaks of the Spanglish ad craze any time soon.

Mr. CATARINO LOPEZ (Creative Director, Browning Communications): In a high-school you always have an incoming class of freshmen and you always have an outgoing class of seniors. And so the Latino market is exactly that. There's always an incoming class of immigrants coming fresh from other countries to find jobs and better opportunities here.

SIERRA: And as immigrants become what Lopez refers to as sophomores and juniors, the products advertisers will try to sell to them will get more and more expensive. Like this Toyota commercial.

(Soundbite of ad)

SON: Papa, why do we have a hybrid?

FATHER: For your future.

SIERRA: But this ad isn't just selling a 30,000 dollar hybrid car, it's selling something more, assimilation.

(Soundbite of ad)

SON: Why?

FATHER: It's better for the air. And we spend less because it runs on gas and electrical power. It uses both.

SON: Like you with English and Spanish!

FATHER: Si!

SIERRA: The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimate that Latino purchasing power will grow to over a trillion dollars by 2010. But Ilan Stavans, the editor of the Spanglish Dictionary and professor at Amherst College believes the financial impact of Spanglish will be minor when compared to the way it will rewrite culture.

Professor ILAN STAVANS (Writer, Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College): Spanglish is not likely to disappear in the next 10 or 20 years. Just the opposite, it will become much more used in media that not only targets Latinos, but targets country as a whole. Ultimately shaping the way we use the English language and we use the Spanish language.

SIERRA: Yeah, that's right. (Spanish spoken) Spanglish is about my hybrid identity not my hybrid car. Because, well, I just can't afford one. So it's nothing new to me. But for those marketers who think it's (Spanish spoken), Spanglish is a new ad lingo.

BRAND: Luis Sierra is a Youth Radio commentator. What's your new what? Let us know by emailing us. The address is what@npr.org.

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