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Advertising Age 2005

New Cajeta Candy Aimed at Mexicans Rather Than All U.S. Latinos

February 22, 2005

By Laurel Wentz

NEW YORK ( -- Hershey's made a controversial choice in promoting its new U.S. Hispanic line with language familiar to Mexicans, but not to other Spanish-speakers.


Hershey's Thalia line of candies is being expanded with a new product called Cajeta Elegancita.

Related Story:
April 8, 2004
Popular Entertainer to Support Candy Giant's Hispanic Marketing

Mexican pop star
La Dulceria Thalia products, a range of Hershey's kisses, wafer bars and lollipops backed by Mexican entertainer Thalia, are described in print and radio ads and on packaging as made from cajeta, the Mexican version of the caramel flavor known as dulce de leche in the rest of Latin America.

Marketers often agonize over when to segment their Hispanic marketing by ethnic group and when to target all Latinos.

"We use the term because 67% of all Hispanics are Mexican and we're targeting Mexicans," said a Hershey spokeswoman.

Different meanings
In some Latin countries, the word cajeta exists with a different meaning. In Argentina, for instance, it has a very sexual meaning. In an unscientific office poll, speakers of Mexican Spanish all were familiar with cajeta ; Puerto Ricans and Dominicans weren't.

"It could be some kind of box," speculated an Ecuadorean, thinking of caja, the Spanish word for box.

"There is Walter Cronkite Spanish," said Jose Cancela, principal of a new Miami-based consulting firm, Hispanic USA. "Using a word that is not known to 40% of the market is not smart marketing. The U.S. Hispanic market is a convergence of different people from all over the world. We all use the same dictionary and that's the Hispanic USA dictionary."

Cristina Benitez, president of Chicago-based marketing services agency Lazos Latinos and a speaker of Puerto Rican Spanish, said, "Thalia is a great spokesperson for this product. She appears genuine and convincing in the ads and speaks to the sweet tooth a lot of Latinos have. “

Other marketers are also targeting the Hispanic sweet tooth. Entenmann's is introducing its own range of products with flavors like dulce de leche and pineapple under the brand name Delicias.

Crossover potential
Hershey's recently moved La Dulceria Thalia from its Hispanic agency, Omnicom Group's Dieste, Harmel & Partners, Dallas, to its general-market agency, Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, New York, a sign that the company thinks the brand has some crossover potential to the general market.