Telenovelas are a tried-and-true way to appeal to the Hispanic market. As the Latin Times points out, there’s a series for every taste, and the two top Spanish-language broadcasters, Univision and Telemundo, are ramping up production. Univision alone produced eight new series for the 2016-2017 season, Parade reported. There are narcodramas like El Señor de los Cielos and Señora Acero: La Coyote; music-industry themes, including a new bioseries of Jenni Revera; and the family drama Sin Senos Si Hay Paraíso.
Telenovelas inhabit a place that’s different from both reality TV and arty, premium-cable series, wrote Sarah Marshall in the New Republic. “Soaps keep us entertained by whisking us through a series of outrageous tragedies and adventures, all the while remembering that what we really want to see are people’s responses to outlandish situations, rather than the outlandish situations themselves,” Marshall explained.
While they originate in Spanish, telenovelas are also invading English-language broadcasts. Jane the Virgin, Ugly Betty, and Chasing Life are among the shows that were developed from Spanish-language properties, says Latina.com. Bridging the gap, My Life Is a Telenovela is a “docuseries” that features real-life stars competing for a role, according to Broadcasting & Cable.
There’s no doubt telenovelas are emotionally compelling; that’s why people are willing to sit down to watch them five evenings a week. A 2013 study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that highly engaging television content—like telenovelas—leads to a mental state they call “narrative transportation.” According to the researchers, people in this state have mentally entered the story and feel like they’re part of the story’s world, notes Science Daily.
Why should advertisers be excited about narrative transportation? Well, the above research shows that telenovelas influence viewers’ behavior and choices. While this particular study didn’t look at product choices, it’s possible the effect would carry over to products seen during commercials—especially if those commercials were carefully targeted to the audience.
Serious Social Situation
Here’s yet another reason advertisers should be excited about this programming: According to Vox Creative, families often watch telenovelas together, meaning the content reaches younger and older viewers both male and female. Of the 5.7 million average weekly telenovela viewers, some 3.1 million are between 18 and 49—advertisers’ favorite age group.
In addition to delivering an excellent audience, advertising on telenovelas can help raise a brand’s social media profile. Television ads generate one in five social media engagements for brands. This effect could be even higher for these primetime soaps due to the somewhat younger demographics of the audience.
Why not add some drama to your media buying with these sizzling, compelling series?