Using new traditions to connect with Hispanics

How do you extend their holiday shopping season without coming across as unauthentic and irrelevant?

Have you noticed that the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier every year? While there may be some out there who cringe when they see holiday decorations next to pumpkins, it's all rooted in the premise that extending the season as much as possible gives consumers even more opportunities to shop and increase profit margins.

This year, we've already seen many brands and retailers launch holiday programs that specifically target US Hispanics. It's not surprising when you consider that this fast-growing demographic reached buying power of $1.3 trillion in 2013; that they are more driven to purchase by celebrations and holidays than their general market counterparts; and finally, that they are also more likely to increase spending for these types of celebrations.

The big question is: how do you extend their holiday shopping season without coming across as unauthentic and irrelevant? In the last quarter of 2013, we executed two separate campaigns for Heineken USA brands Tecate and Indio that authentically leveraged important holidays for our target audience, US Hispanics.

Día de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America on November 1 and 2 to remember our loved ones who passed away. Traditions include hosting special meals with friends and family, and setting up festive altars that highlight the items our ancestors enjoyed in life, including their favorite cerveza. The holiday has rapidly increased in popularity amongst Hispanic bicultural Millennials in the US and even their general market counterparts. Not only does the holiday allow marketers to connect with consumers through their passion points of culture, tradition, and art, it also gives us the opportunity to extend the high beer-selling Halloween period by two days.

Indio recently wrapped up its Día de los Muertos retail program across small- and large-scale retail accounts across California, Texas, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, markets where the Mexican dark lager is available. We collaborated with the agency Cultur8 to develop thematic point-of-sale materials that would visually highlight key elements of the holiday like cempasuchil (marigold flowers), photo frames, and papel picado (perforated tissue paper banners), and at the same time, educate consumers and retailers about the holiday itself. The four-week program was anchored on the brand's ongoing efforts to encourage Hispanic bicultural Millennials 21 and over to “Do Their Thing” and celebrate the holiday in their own way with Indio.

Maratón Lupe-Reyes
The December holiday season is one of the top six beer-selling holidays in the US, with 54 million cases sold in only a two-week period, and one of the last chances of the year to generate sales. To extend the shopping occasion for US Hispanics, brands can leverage a Mexican tradition known as the Maratón Lupe-Reyes, a series of celebrations that kicks off on December 12 and ends on January 6.

This year, Tecate and Tecate Light provided retail partners a comprehensive program designed to give men of carácter everything they need to celebrate the Maratón. In addition to thematic price cards, cooler decals, and case stackers, we created a “Survival Guide” that provides consumers with daily tips as to how to celebrate the tradition responsibly. To further engage them, we launched a text-to-win sweepstakes of branded items, such as glasses and domino sets that tie back to the tips provided on the point of sale. Another key element of this program was Tecate's partnership with brands like Guerrero tortillas and Tajín seasoning to offer consumers enticing mail-in and instant-rebates on holiday party essentials, while expanding Tecate's visibility outside the beer aisle and drive cross-merchandising purchases for higher basket rings. 

Both of these holiday retail programs were well-received by retailers around the country not only because they helped extend “the most wonderful time of the year” but also allowed them – and us, as the brand – to authentically connect with US Hispanic consumers this holiday season.

Gustavo Guerra is brand director for the Tecate Franchise and Indio at Heineken USA.

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