Rick Gomez is Target Corporation’s new senior vice president of brand and category marketing. Given that rather bland title and the opaque maze of vice presidents that occupy Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Gomez’s hire doesn’t really stand out.
Except that it does, and not just because Gomez used to run marketing at beer giant MillerCoors.
Let’s start with the obvious: Gomez is Hispanic, a group of customers Target has actively pursued in recent years. In 2011, Target ranked 29th among the 50 largest advertisers in Hispanic media, spending $45.6 million, according to Advertising Age.
The retailer recently partnered with music produce Emilio Estefan to curate a special selection of movies, music, and books called “Emilio Estefan’s Picks.” Target also tasked Estefan with signing exclusive partnerships with Latin music artists.
Last year, Target hired ad agency LatinWorks, based in Austin, Texas, to court the Hispanic market.
In Gomez, Target has tapped an accomplished Hispanic executive to oversee “marketing strategies for all merchandise categories and brand initiatives including REDcard, exclusive artists and licensing, and creative collaborations.”
Under Gomez’s leadership, MillerCoors rolled out packaging for Miller Lite and Coors Light in both Spanish and English, sponsored a Mexican soccer league, and run Spanish language commercials on major television networks. The beer giant also provides grants to“Liders,” individuals whose work impacts the Hispanic community.
A longtime veteran of PepsiCo, Gomez also offers a significant food marketing experience to Target, which has focused more of its attention on its Archer Farms and Market Pantry private- label foods brands and P-Fresh grocery formats.
In addition, Gomez brings much needed diversity to the higher ranks of Target leadership. Despite its progressive reputation and its well- earned reputation for developing female leaders, Target’s ranks of executive vice presidents and corporate officers lack color. (Laysha Ward, an African American woman, is president of community relationships and the Target Foundation.)
Target displays a better record with its board of directors, which includes Yahoo! chief operating officer Henrique de Castro of Portuguese origin, Derica Rice, an African American and CFO of Eli Lilly, and Solomon D. Trujillo, a former telecommunications executive born to Mexican immigrants in the United States.