First Look: Q Scores of Latino Stars Released in New Rankings

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Lionel Messi, Carlos Santana, and Pele

Singers like Carlos Santana, sports stars like Lionel Messi and Pele, and actors are the most familiar faces to the 50 million Americans of Hispanic descent.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

There are more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S., according to the latest census. That's 16 percent of the population, and by 2018, one in five Americans will be of Hispanic descent.

Marketers increasingly are keen to connect to this growing demographic that not only is young -- already Latinos account for one in four people under age 18 -- but also responsible for more than $1 trillion in spending power. So who are the biggest stars in the Latino community?

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Q Scores, which measures consumers' affinity for public figures, has performed its first study on Latino stars. The results, provided to THR, show that singers, actors and sports figures generate the highest favorability ratings. Among Spanish-speaking U.S. Latinos, for instance, the top star is Eugenio Derbez, who created and starred in the Univision sitcom La Familia P. Luche.

But it's not just the raw numbers that are driving investment in the Hispanic market.

"The Latino population is very loyal to advertisers who use Hispanic celebrities as spokespeople," says Henry Schafer, executive vp at Q Scores. "They're more likely to pay attention to a commercial that uses Hispanic spokespeople."

That's why Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara is among the highest earners on television. Forbes estimates that she raked in $30 million this year alone thanks in large part to endorsement deals.

Predicts Schafer, "Advertisers are going to want those celebrities to be the faces of their brands."