Code Switch
2:08 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

What Do Dora And Charo Have In Common? Hint: Hispanic Heritage Month

Every year there's Black History Month in February, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May and Native American History month in November. And then there's Hispanic Heritage Month, which actually starts mid-September and ends in October.* These heritage months often leave people wondering what is the best and least hokey way to celebrate these cultures.**

It's standard practice for businesses to set up scholarships tied to these heritage months. Nothing controversial there; it's no different than Hallmark trying to capitalize on birthdays or Christmas. But, at times, companies take celebrations of heritage months in curious directions.

Here are some interesting examples we've noticed. Draw your own conclusions:

1. Sherwin-Williams

The paint company launched a social media campaign called "#ColorLatino" timed to Hispanic Heritage Month. It's marketing a line of colors "inspired by Hispanic culture and the flags of Latin America."

And some of these Hispanic culture-inspired colors: jardín, pueblo, jacaranda.

2. Nascar

Companies often donate to charities based on customer participation (we'll match this, we'll match that), but this is a bit different. For every lap that a Latino driver completes during Hispanic Heritage Month, NASCAR will donate $5 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. NASCAR also rolled out a five-part short film series honoring its Latino employees.

3. ¡Hola! LA

The television show bills itself as "The First American Talk Show with a Latina point-of-view!" It's commemorating the month by featuring guests such as Charo. For the uninitiated, Charo (her real name is María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza) is a Spanish-born, vampish comedienne who added "cuchi-cuchi" to the vernacular back in the '60s. Charo is expected to perform her "shape-up rap song" for the show's hosts this weekend.

4. Macy's

The high-end retailer named Dora the Explorer one of its "Macy's 2013 Icons of Style." The animated children's television star usually appears on screen sporting orange shorts, a pink shirt and a purple backpack. Nothing fancy.


*Note: Hispanic Heritage Month started off as Hispanic Heritage Week, which commemorated the mid-September independence days of several Latin American countries. And then it eventually expanded to a full month.

**Note: There are, um, these suggestions for how people can celebrate on their own: attend a lacrosse game or replace beef with buffalo in recipes for Native American Heritage Months; write your own folk tale for Hispanic Heritage Month.

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