Effective Advertising in the Caribbean American Community

Over the years, our client, Publix, has reached out to the Caribbean American Population in the Miami division. Today, there are over 3.7 million people in the United States who identify as Caribbean. We wanted to share insight from our study on this growing demographic.

The most important finding was that Caribbean Americans do not identify themselves as “Afro-Caribbean.” Respondents were more likely to refer to themselves as Jamaican, Bahamian, Trinidadian, etc. When asked the preferred designation for all people of Caribbean descent who reside in the United States, the terminology they were most comfortable with included: West Indian, Caribbean American and Islanders.

During our study, respondents were asked what values are important to them. Recurring answers included spirituality, family, achievement, healthy living and Caribbean heritage. Caribbean heritage was said to play a large part in shaping the values and traditions the respondents have. Regardless of whether they were first or second generation Americans, respondents said the “old ways” shaped nearly every facet of their lives including their time with family, faith, work ethic, attitudes toward friends and the disciplining of their children.

Another revealing find was the way that Caribbean Americans viewed American culture. Respondents believed that Americans have a sense of entitlement and are unwilling to work hard for material success. Conversely, Caribbean Americans believe that one should work hard for the things they want. Other glaring differences included values on community, child rearing and education. Respondents believe in knowing your neighbors and helping others in need that grandmothers are “the rock” of the family and that education is not an option. Respondents also expressed dismay for the lack of respect given to teachers, the elderly, and adults in general.

Finally, respondents were asked to give suggestions on how they would increase the number of Caribbean shoppers in Publix stores. Suggestions included:

  1. Offering a larger variety of Caribbean foods
  2. Offering prepared Caribbean foods for take-out
  3. Employing more workers who are Caribbean

These responses are significant in that they show what criteria are necessary to have a potentially brand loyal customer.

Below you will see some of the ads Matlock previously created for to honor specific Caribbean holidays. You will notice that each ad is geared to specific people from specific islands, which made the campaign highly successful. 







Any businesses hoping to successfully target this demographic should be aware that although Americans tend to lump Caribbean Americans in one group they are viewed amongst themselves as vastly different. An understanding of the different values and traditions of each Caribbean segment would greatly improve your interaction with this demographic.