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Facing a bleak 2009, the top 500 advertisers allocated 5.4 percent of ad dollars during last year's recession to reach and connect with Hispanic consumers, according to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. That number is up from 5.1 percent in 2008 and slightly below the 5.6 percent historical high in pre-recession 2007.
 
To benchmark investment and reallocation of ad dollars from non-Hispanic to Hispanic, AHAA recently issued the first Hispanic Marketing Investment Trends report analyzing trends over three years, 2006 through 2008. The report analyzes company and category changes in allocation and assigns the top 500 advertisers in the country to one of five spending tiers: Best-in-Class; Leader; Follower; Laggard; or Don't-Get-It.
 
In 2009, companies in the Best-In-Class tier increased their aggregate Hispanic spending an impressive 25 percent over 2008 compared to their non-Hispanic spending increase of only 11 percent. The number of companies in the Best-In-Class category, defined by their allocation of more than 11.8 percent of ad budgets to Hispanic media, increased from 32 to 40 last year with an average allocation of 21.4 percent.
 
Among Best-In-Class marketers are quick-service restaurants appetite pleasers El Pollo Loco, Domino's Pizza and McDonald's.
 
Although ad spending targeting non-Hispanics by the Top 500 advertisers dropped by 9.5 percent in 2009, Hispanic spending declined by only 4.4 percent. AHAA's preliminary trend analysis indicates marketers allocated a higher proportion of available resources to Hispanic media, shifting non-Hispanic media dollars to tap into the Hispanic market potential and optimize their overall results.

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