I have to confess that I am one of “those” people that waits for the Super Bowl Sunday every year just for the ads. I really don’t care about who is playing, who is performing or who wins…for me it’s all about the ads. This year, the one ad that caught my attention was the Taco Bell “Fiesta Platter” commercial, since it utilizes a word that might be the most popular term and recognizable Spanish-language expression in the U.S. : ¡Hola!

In the ad a mariachi musician basically gets the girl just by saying ¡Hola!, followed by a wink, this might be the ultimate expression of the latino charm. Being a latino that moved to the U.S., I have a first have experience of the power of the word ¡Hola!, it can be (as the ad shows) an attention grabber, a great opening line in a bar (specially if there is latin music playing), and a word that encompasses the warm, friendly and relaxed traits of the latino individual. A simple ¡Hola! can open a communication bridge among Spanish and non-Spanish speakers.

For a non Spanish-speaker, saying or hearing the word ¡Hola! immediately triggers a positive mental model or stereotype reflecting the Latino culture.

While the origin of the the word is uncertain, some say that it comes from the English-language word “Hello”, others from the French-language word “Allo”, or the German-language word “Hallo”.

The word ¡Hola! as a name or brand can be found in wide variety of products and services, here are some examples:

Revista ¡Hola! : It is the Spanish-language version of the british Hello Magazine. ¡Hola!is a great source of gossip and information from top celebrities and European royalty.

Hola Airlines: It is a Spanish airline based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Hola Susana: A very popular T.V. variety show from Argentina hosted by “actress and diva” Susana Gimenez.

Hola Arkansas: It is a billingual weekly newspaper (English-Spanish)published in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Hola Coca Cola: A customer service information line from The Coca Cola company in Mexico.

¡Hola! can be a very powerful communications tool, use it wisely…¡Adios!


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