Contrary to popular belief, Cinco De Mayo is not Mexico’s IndependenceDay.
Cinco de Mayo, translated as the Fifth of May, commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While this Mexican holiday is primarily celebrated in the Puebla region of Mexico today, it is not really a big deal in Mexico. In contrast, thousands of celebrations take place coast-to-coast in the United States.
You’ve likely seen ads already this week – posters, banners, and Facebook posts – promoting delicious-looking Mexican dishes, mariachi bands, and 2-4-1 margarita specials. So how did this relatively minor Mexican holiday become a must-celebrate sensation in the U.S.? The answer: beer.
Mexican Americans began celebrating the holiday as a way to embrace the connection between the two cultures in the 1960s, but the holiday was still rarely observed outside a few large cities. In the 1980s, Cinco De Mayo exploded when the San Antonio-based Gambrinus Group, the regional importers of Corona, launched a Cinco de Mayo-themed advertising campaign encouraging patrons to spend the holiday drinking their Mexican beer.
Big beer makers Anheuser-Busch and Miller Company caught on shortly thereafter and sponsored Cinco de Mayo events to tap into the growing Hispanic market, persuading Americans to drink more Mexican beer. Today? Corona and its ad agency brought Cinco de Mayo to the masses. Corona still spends about $1 per case for its annual Cinco de Mayo ad campaign. This, in turn, led to enormous growth and Corona now is the sixth most popular beer in the world.
Be sure to celebrate in style this year and, of course, remember to drink responsibly and know that you are under the influence of advertising. I’ll most likely see you at Mi Jalisco (Richmond or Urbanna) with a Corona in hand and another advertising tale to tell.