“100 Years of Mexican Music” – Tequila 100 Años™ Photo Exhibit Celebrating Mexican Culture”

Beam Global with Ketchum

Tequila is undeniably the drink of choice for Mexican-Americans – who are three times more likely to drink tequila than the general U.S. population.  But U.S. tequila brands have typically failed to inspire brand loyalty from this Spanish-dominant, culturally-focused audience – the fastest growing segment of America’s rising Hispanic population.  Tequila 100 Años – Casa Sauza’s most traditional tequila brand – was eager to reach this group.  However, connecting with this non-acculturated target would require an authentic shot of Mexican heritage – which Ketchum and Tequila 100 Años delivered via a traveling photography exhibit showcasing the musical legacy of Mexico.

Ketchum Logo (Color)

“100 Years of Mexican Music” (or, in Spanish, “100 Años de Música Mexicana”) featured emotionally-engaging photos of special moments in Mexican history as told through 50 legendary music artists. Ketchum, working with brand representatives and three other promotional partners, carefully integrated Tequila 100 Años throughout the exhibit in ways that associated it with Mexican heritage. The unique, culturally-focused exhibit traveled to three carefully-chosen, highly-populated Mexican-American markets – with Tequila 100 Años hosting VIP and media receptions and month-long public exhibits that aligned the brand with Mexican heritage.   Toasts of tequila are in order as “100 Years of Mexican Music” not only exceeded its communications awareness goals, but directly impacted a sales volume increase of 52% in targeted markets over the same period in 2007.

The Ketchum-led team collected and analyzed secondary research on markets within the U.S. with a high percentage of Mexican and Mexican-Americans in the population. That analysis, made within the context of budget realities, enabled the team to recommend a focus on three markets: Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

Product Insights: For consumers, music is a true emotional connector that brings memories and history back to life and allows them to stay true to their origins. The program should make consumers feel that the brand is inserted in their everyday lives, lending the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends some unforgettable moments in Mexican musical history. The program should highlight the true essence of the brand: quality that has not change throughout the years; a testimony to Mexican culture and heritage; a commitment to never deceive its consumers and never brag about its success. Tequila 100 Años has grown within the people and for the people.

Target Insights: With the markets determined, the Ketchum team dug deeply into a demographic analysis of those markets, and examined the mindset and beliefs of Mexican-American men (the primary target audience). In each market, Mexican-American males were found to greatly value Mexican culture and values; and that music is an integral part of their lives as an area of interest that connects them to their Mexican roots. Regional Mexican music is the top-selling music genre in the U.S. among Hispanics, with its popularity fueled by the growing number of Spanish-language radio stations. Seeing people of the same background succeed while staying true to their roots enables the Mexican-Americans to keep their hope alive. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 28.3 million of U.S. residents of Mexican American origin living in the country. These residents constitute 9 percent of the nation’s total population and 64 percent of the Hispanic population. Ketchum Case Study Photo 1


Business: Increase sales volume by 30% in each targeted market while driving trial and awareness of     the Tequila 100 Años brand, a brand that has limited budget and resources to engage in hefty advertising and promotional campaigns.

Communications: Bring to life the brand promise, “Proud of my roots,” by directly touching 20,000 Mexican-Americans in the program’s initial launch markets (Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles).

Media: Generate a minimum of 20 million national and in-market media impressions.

Target Audience/Analysis:

1) Non-acculturated, Spanish-dominant Mexican-Americans, ages 25-39; hard-working, family-oriented, inclined to buy products that have a connection with their home country; 2) Consumer and lifestyle media that are consumed by Mexican-American adults, including Spanish-language media; 3) Influencers and key opinion leaders of Mexican descent who stand as “champions” and “guardians” of Mexican heritage.


The team focused on leveraging the Tequila 100 Años brand essence – “Proud of my roots!” – in order to reinforce the target audience’s strong connection with Mexico. Moreover, this direction would emphasize the Tequila 100 Años brand as the only authentic link between the targets’ Mexican-American lifestyle and their Mexican culture.

The team developed “100 Years of Mexican Music,” a four-month, three-market tour to reach non-acculturated Mexican-Americans with a unique, evocative photo exhibit showcasing a century of Mexican music. The exhibit included specific bilingual components, which subtly included the Tequila 100 Años brand in each element. Every part of the campaign was linked to the brand promise of connecting Mexican-Americans to their roots.

The Exhibit: Ketchum created the concept and managed the production of a photo retrospective of the past 100 years of regional Mexican music, featuring images of beloved artists and performers, including Pedro Vargas, Lola Beltran, Vicente Fernandez, Trio Los Panchos, Armando Manzanero and many others. Also, Ketchum identified and negotiated the contract with Steve Loza, Professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, who was appointed exhibit curator and program spokesperson. Mr. Loza provided counseling to select the featured artists and develop the bilingual artist biographies.

The exhibit was created in a modular form, to enable it to be moved efficiently and easily between markets and venues. The five modules included original photography and biographical references in English and Spanish.  The modular exhibit was designed like a traditional Mexican “casita” with stucco-type construction and walls devoted to different age periods in the last century of Mexican music. Each module was illustrated with text describing the stars and influencers of that era, and emphasized the beautiful voices and moving lyrics that entertained and inspired audiences around the world. Sprinkled throughout the exhibit were images and descriptions of the Tequila 100 Años brand, including one wall devoted to the history of Hacienda La Perseverancia in Jalisco, its magic location, the handmade quality of its production and its relevance to Mexican heritage.

“100 Years of Mexican Music” was showcased at the Westin Galleria Mall in Houston, at the Ford City Mall in Chicago and at Plaza Mexico in Los Angeles.

Influencer Events: Ketchum coordinated a private event in each market prior to the exhibit’s official public opening. Attendees included local and national media, Sauza key accounts and distributors, local Mexican-American authorities (such as representatives of the Civic Mexican Society, Mexican Consulate, Mexican Tourism Board and elected officials). Also, with Relay Worldwide, the team created a small “pop-up” exhibit which was taken to local bars and retailers to maximize reach and drive trial within each market.

Collateral: Working with Publicis, Ketchum incorporated the “100 Years of Mexican Music” theme into various elements, such as logo, exhibit brochures, invitations and a compilation CD — “Música con Sabor” – including 10 songs from artists featured in the exhibit.  Ketchum coordinated and managed the relationship with DMI, a licensing vendor that secured photo and songs rights for the exhibit.

Publicity: The team used a number of PR tactics to publicize the exhibit in each market, including a three-pronged media relations approach: 1) Announcement of the initiative and the dates/locations of local exhibits through bilingual press releases and media alerts; 2) Sneak preview unveiling for media (broadcast and print) and other influencers. At each event attendees tasted Tequila 100 Años, browsed the exhibit and enjoyed a unique Mexican atmosphere that included Mexican food and romantic Mexican music performed by Mariachis; 3) Pitching calendar listings in key print/broadcast media; and 4) Pitching “opening night” events to the media, supplemented by B-roll with Steve Loza and the Tequila 100 Años senior brand manager, Antonio Portillo. This multi-phased approach created and sustained “buzz” about the initiative, and further promoted consumer engagement and participation.

Business Objective: Increase sales volume by 30% in each targeted market while driving trial and awareness of the Tequila 100 Años brand. Initial results provided by the client indicate a sales volume increase of 52% versus the same period last year. More than 40,000 people, including consumers, media and influencers tried the product in a combination of launch events and promotional activities.

Communications Objective: Bring to life brand promise “Proud of my roots” by directly touching 20,000 Mexican-Americans in the program’s initial launch markets (Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles).  The exhibit registered a total attendance of 22,750. In addition, special promotions in bars and other locations drew an approximate attendance of 26,085 bringing the total amount of people touched by the initiative to 48,835.  The educational and cultural value was well-received and appreciated by the community. The Latino Museum of Culture, Art and History in Los Angeles offered to host the exhibit from September through November 2008. At local events, attendees have praised the initiative by commenting that the exhibit fired their nostalgia and reminded them of Mexico and its cultural legacy to the world.

Media Objective: Generate a minimum of 20 million national and in-market media impressions.

1) The exhibit generated nearly 22,657,045 media impressions, with about 10,570,000 reaching TV and radio audiences, and about 12,087,045 reaching print and online media.

2) Quality product mentions appeared in national Hispanic TV stations such as Telemundo and Univision, and radio networks like CNN en Español and Bloomberg. Local coverage appeared in all selected markets including La Opinion, which is the largest daily Hispanic newspaper in the U.S., Hoy Los Angeles and Hoy Chicago, among others.

3) The exhibit was endorsed by key influencers such as the Consul of Mexico in Houston, The Civic Mexican Society in Chicago, and the Mayor of Lynwood in Los Angeles.

One thought on “Ketchum PR Case Study: 100 Years of Mexican Music – Tequila 100 Años™ Photo Exhibit Celebrating Mexican Culture”
  1. To whom it may concern, 

    I am a current student at Eastern Michigan University majoring in pr and a Mexican born national proud of my roots and rich culture and heritage.

    Though I am one year too late to respond to the findings of this case study I still feel the need to express my opinions.
    I would first like to state tequila has been refined in Mexico for decades and it has vastly spread around the world from the various distilleries throughout Mexico. It is unfortunate for any American distilleries because tequila is a regional creation just like champagne or cognac. If it is made anywhere outside of the particular region it stops being a tequila. Thus, any American distilled tequila cannot be placed in the same category.
    My main concern is not this misleading information but the exhibit mentioned in the case study. To depict tequila as a cultural historic artifact for Mexican’s and Mexican-American’s is exactly the same as emphasizing that fried chicken is a cultural artifact for African-American’s or that Germany‘s rich history revolves around beer. 
    Though I fully understand that this campaign is to reenergize the Hispanic/Latino market, into buying a particular product I still feel the need to express my concern with campaigns like this. This is cause for more concern since the two leading countries of consumption are the United States and Mexico, but Mexican’s and Mexican-American’s are more likely to purchase and consume the leading alcohol product beer rather than tequila. The text within your case study implies that music and tequila go together which I found to be contradictory to my own cultural experience. From my experience, tequila is used for celebrations of special events. This among other things, became an issue for me in reading this case study.

    I implore Ketchum PR as well as all other agencies targeting their Hispanic consumers to please watch the content of any of their campaigns and research. A cultures history is a delicate issue to try and bring consumers in and hope that companies handle campaigns like this are handled with care.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.


    Roberto Perez
    Eastern Michigan University
    Center for Multicultural Affairs
    Latino Student Association
    Public Relations Student Society of America
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
    President of the interest group of Phi Iota Alpha, Latino Fraternity Inc.

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