Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is spending $15 million in ads to reach Latinos where they are — language and accent preferences included.
Spanish-speaking Latinos are a key audience for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign efforts. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee‘s new ads embrace the Spanish language range by diversifying the use of Spanish and accents.
The Spanish-language ads for Biden used the same slogan to contrast him with President Donald Trump — “los cuentos no pagan las cuentas,” a play on words that roughly means “telling stories won’t pay the bills.”
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The narrator for the version that aired in Miami had a Cuban accent. In Orlando, Florida, the accent was Puerto Rican. And in Phoenix, it was Mexican.
Biden is hoping to capture Florida and other pivotal states by pushing Latino turnout rates higher than when Hillary Clinton was defeated in 2016. A key to doing that is a deeper understanding of Latino voters’ backgrounds thanks to new advancements in “micro-targeting.”
That means using data modeling of voter populations to produce ads and customize outreach aimed at individual ethnic groups within the larger Latino community.
“We now have the capacity to do sub-ethnicity modeling,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Pérez, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, said on a recent conference call with Biden advisers, according to the Associated Press.
“If you meet someone named Pérez, or Alex or Rodríguez in Florida — and you want them to vote for Joe Biden — one of the most important things you ought to learn about them is, are they Rodríguez, Alex or Pérez de Venezuela, de la Republica Dominicana, de Cuba, de Puerto Rico?” he said.
It means “really understanding that we’re not a monolith,” said Julie Chávez Rodríguez, the granddaughter of civil rights leader Cesar Chávez and a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign. “It’s not about taking an English campaign ad and translating it into Spanish and considering that Latino outreach.”
According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in this presidential election, which accounts for 13.3 percent of the electorate. Most immigrant eligible voters are either Latino or Asian, though they hail from countries across the globe, Pew reports. Immigrants from Mexico make up the single largest group, at 16% of foreign-born voters. More than half of all U.S. immigrants (56%) live in the country’s four most populous states: California, New York, Texas, and Florida. Two-thirds have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, and 63% are proficient in English.
Individualized messaging may be especially vital in Florida, which has a profoundly diverse Latino population encompassing people with roots in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela and other South American countries, and Nicaragua and throughout Central America. It has more than 3 million eligible Latino voters, about 20% of total eligible voters statewide.
Democratic consultant Colin Rogero recalls once producing two versions of a Miami political ad featuring a grandmother talking kitchen table issues that were identical except what she cooked. For Cuban neighborhoods, it was black beans and rice. For Puerto Rican areas, it was red beans and rice.
“You’re not going to deliver a tortilla ad to Cubans in South Florida,” Rogero said. “They’ll go, ‘What the hell is this?'”
Watch are all three versions of the Biden’s ads in Spanish here.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.