Una Rubia y Una Roja
As the U.S. continues to become the “Majority-Minority” with a growing number of Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and many other ethnic groups, Matlock understands how important it is for our clients to reach, communicate and engage multicultural consumers based on each segments’ unique culture, heritage and language.
Matlock prides itself on being a minority-owned advertising agency with a diverse staff from all walks of life. That’s why we find it interesting that two of our team members with strong backgrounds in the Hispanic market are not what you might consider “typical” Hispanics. Both fair skinned, and seemingly 100% American, they talk about their particular paths and why the Hispanic market is so important to them.
Beth Roper, Brand Account Director, is half Portuguese and half Scotch-English. Her mother is from a small coastal town in Portugal named Foz do Arelho, a fishing village that has become a summer vacation spot over time. While Beth’s grandparents spoke Portuguese, her mom grew up in the U.S., where she desperately tried not to be considered “foreign” or deemed an “immigrant”. “My mother said she did everything she could to look and sound more “American”. She and all her 1st generation American cousins only spoke Portuguese when needed with family and over time Portuguese became the language of the “old people”. While it makes me sad to hear how tough it was to be different when my mom was growing up, I find it encouraging that a generation later, I’m so proud to celebrate my mom’s heritage.”
Based on her mom’s unique background, Beth was always fascinated with different cultures and languages, which lead to her decision to a) go to International Business School and b) learn Spanish. “I knew just enough Portuguese to thoroughly confuse myself when I heard Spanish”, Beth jokes. She attended the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business for her MBA with a focus on Spanish language intensive that included a semester in Guadalajara, Mexico at Tec de Monterey, a semester in Barcelona, Spain at ESADE and an MBA internship in Panama working for a leading Outdoor advertising agency. Upon finishing school, she moved to New York and worked at The Vidal Partnership, a leading and award-winning Hispanic agency, where she worked on accounts including Nissan and MasterCard for almost four years. “My Spanish improved immensely while working at Vidal, but more importantly, I learned about the multi-segmented US Hispanic market and how important it is to advertise to Hispanic consumers in a culturally relevant manner, whether in Spanish or English.”
Erika Ludwig, Account Coordinator – Reputation, is half Spanish and a quarter Italian. Her mother is from Madrid, Spain, but spent much of her childhood in La Pola de Gordon in Leon, Spain - Northwest of Madrid. Her mother and father met in Madrid in the 1970’s while her father was stationed there on active duty in the United States Air Force. They fell in love, and married (even though at the beginning of their relationship neither one spoke each other’s’ language very well).
The youngest daughter of three, Erika and her sisters were each born in Torrejon de Ardoz, just outside of Madrid, Spain. The family moved to the U.S. from Spain in the mid-late 1980’s, and has lived stateside since.
Erika’s first language was Spanish; however by moving to the U.S. at such an early age, English was easy to learn. In fact, Erika does not have an accent in either language – she is a native-sounding speaker for both languages. Erika speaks in both Spanish and English with her family.
Growing up, Erika took many trips back to Spain to visit with family and friends. Her grandmother lived in Madrid, and she and her mother would visit with her in Madrid and then ride the train to La Pola to visit with more family. “I have very fond memories of visiting Spain with my mother,” Erika said. “I remember going to el Parque Retiro, stopping to have churros con chocolate after shopping at El Corte Inglés, riding the Metro to get around Madrid, and of course eating all of the wonderful tapas – Tortilla Española, Jamón Serrano, Chorizo, Albóndigas, Aceitunas and more. I’m very fortunate to have been able to grow up in a household that embraces people’s cultures and memes. I welcome any opportunity where I can learn about and understand others.”
Both Beth and Erika are excited to be a part of Matlock’s team. Speaking Spanish and having Hispanic marketing expertise has been beneficial for many of our clients who seek multicultural advertising and look to Matlock to better reach numerous diversity markets including African American, Hispanic, Asian American and LGBT. “As the US continues to grow into a more diverse and multicultural country, I feel it is crucial to communicate to different diversity groups based on cultural relevancy, rather than a more blanket approach” stated Beth. “At Matlock, one of my favorite parts of the job is being able to work with a group of unique individuals who are able to bring expertise in multiple segments and develop a collective-best approach that celebrates and embraces diversity for our clients and their brands.”