Stereotypes vs. Insights

By Alejandro Martinez, Director, Market Intelligence 

This is the story of two advertising approaches. The first one is your typical ad relying on stereotypes to promote a product or service. Think of Hispanics eating guacamole, watching soccer, mariachis playing in the background, chihuahuas, and so on–I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of examples. The second approach uses insights to connect culture and traditions with food, weaving it into the story of Hispanics who are growing up or raising children in the U.S., and balancing two different cultures in one household.

The first approach really doesn’t touch the heart, and more likely alienates some viewers. The second approach is part of a campaign that gets featured on Ad Age, wins a bunch of awards, gets shared by top influencers in the industry, and delivers great results for the brand.

The main difference between these two approaches is that one of them went deeper, and found insights instead of relying on stereotypes. In multicultural marketing, this can be the difference between success and a total waste of resources.

A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person. An insight is the knowledge that helps us get a deeper, more accurate understanding of our consumer. It may be a unique way on how they interact or perceive a brand; cultural dynamics that emotionally connect with them, etc. Think of it this way: the stereotype is the boring, uneventful belief and the insight is the WOW factor.

This does not mean, however, that stereotypes can’t be used creatively in advertising. One example is The Colombian Ambush, where our creative team at Dieste cleverly gave stereotypes a twist, and delivered insights about true richness of hundreds of years of Colombian culture.

In short, relying on stereotypes without mining for true insights will result in a huge miss which will not truly connect with consumers, and may even alienate them. Our job as marketers and advertisers is to find these connections through data-driven insights and weave them into a story that resonates.

Dieste, Inc. ( is a Dallas- and New York-based company with a mission to pioneer the future of how brands and cultures connect. Through our partnerships and the deployment of proprietary consumer data, algorithms and human cultural intel, combined with insightful creativity, we are able to sync brands with consumer subcultures and create successful outcomes for our clients. Dieste has won multiple Cannes Lions for their work and has been named Ad Age’s “A-list,” “Agency to Watch” and “Multicultural Agency of the Year” numerous times.  Dieste is part of Omnicom’s (NYSE: OMC) DAS Global network.

Alex is the Director of Market Intelligence at Dieste where he helps brands understand their consumer’s passion points, lifestyle, cultural triggers, and purchase behavior to deliver powerful consumer-driven insights.


Dieste Inc