Why are Latinos being targeted?
With Latinos making up 19% of the population and with an estimated $1.9 trillion in buying power, it's understandable why companies would want to target us.
But currently many companies seem to be using HHM solely as a marketing tool, forgetting (or ignoring) the original purpose of the celebration.
"Of course, it's a good marketing strategy to target those communities and showcase allyship," Lea says. "But, most of the time it’s not just allyship, it's how they make more money too and don't truly support or give back to our communities."
Many businesses also miss the mark completely because they fail to see the different cultures the Hispanic community is made up of.
In fact, some marketing efforts are downright insensitive to the point of using sombreros or tacos in the hopes of drawing in Hispanic consumers. They simply see it as a chance to reel in extra business, explains Lea.
Many have accused companies who engage in this of bluewashing: the practice of using misleading marketing strategies that exaggerate a company's true commitment to a social practice to attract consumers.
And many consumers have caught wind of this. According to a recent survey, 46% of people think HHM-focused marketing campaigns are pandering, while 38% believe it is mere window dressing.
These types of campaigns do not only mislead some consumers but can harm celebrations such as HHM as it detracts from the true objectives of the event.
Culture honored all year round
"Latinx individuals are the fastest growing population in the US, of course, brands want to target us, we bring in business," Lea says.
"But no matter how much business we bring in, those profits aren't being channeled back into our communities, so things need to change. Brands should do more than just sponsoring a Latinx creator or business or creating merchandise for people to purchase."
She explains that this can be done by employing people of color or queer identity and paying them well, celebrating and honoring the various cultures of the people who work for a business within that business, doing DEI training and giving back to communities through non-profits and charities so that "Latinx culture is honored all year round".
"At this moment, we have Latinx immigrants at the border and a majority of Puerto Rico is still without electricity or water after the hurricane, yet no corporation is talking about that," says Lea.
"It's not that hard to be a true ally, especially when you have money. When one has the funds, one holds the power to drive change. So instead of doing all that talking, marketing, and promoting, do the work."