Category Archives: Contributions

How is nationalism shaping advertising in Mexico?

advertising in Mexico

Recent years have brought a surge in nationalist sentiment in Mexico, largely in response to the hostile rhetoric used by the White House. Many brands have chosen not to directly engage with this unusual political climate; but some brands have succeeded in turning the situation to their advantage.

Ilegal Mezcal: Donald, eres un pendejo  

advertising in MexicoIlegal Mezcal is a brand of mezcal (a traditional South American spirit) from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. In July 2015, the founder John Rexer came up with the idea for a guerrilla advertising campaign that would make a bold statement about the brand, its values and its feelings towards Donald Trump. Initially, the company posted several thousand posters in New York featuring a silhouette of Donald Trump, the brand name and the message “Donald, eres un pendejo” (“Donald, you’re an asshole”). The same message was later spread via posters and spray-painted signs in cities such as LA, and then the company went one step further with prominent public projections in Philadelphia and Manhattan. The company also promoted an event called #ashotatdonald, which invited readers to join Ilegal Mezcal for a drink at 75 participating bars around the world on 19 April 2018.

This outspoken, overtly political approach was effective for a number of reasons. Above all, it is important to stress that boldness, political awareness and a certain disregard for the rules are central to the brand’s identity. The company makes no secret of the fact that its founder originally smuggled mezcal from Mexico to his bar in Antigua, Guatemala, and it has long prided itself on its engagement with issues such as immigration reform.  By using colloquial Latin American Spanish instead of English, the campaign divided readers along linguistic lines. Ilegal Mezcal cast itself the voice of the former – a group comprising people in the brand’s target Spanish-speaking countries and Spanish speakers within the USA, who are likely to be immigrants or people of Hispanic descent. The brand also carefully timed projections to coincide with other events for maximum impact, including Donald Trump’s turn hosting Saturday Night Live in 2015 and International Women’s Day in 2017. The campaign was featured in media outlets including VICE, The Guardian, Fusion, NY Daily News, Gothamist and Eater, and helped raise over $30,000 for charitable causes. It received a Gold Distinction in the Wine, Beer and Spirits category at the Annual Shorty Awards 2017.

To find out more about the rise of nationalism in Mexico and how it affects the advertising landscape, read our latest White Paper or join us at our Breakfast Roundtable, which will be held on 23 January 2019.

Creative Culture’s speaking engagement for the EACA


The European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA) will welcome Creative Culture CEO Mélanie Chevalier and Non-Executive Director Paul Duncanson to their national associations meeting in Brussels on 16th October.

In its leadership role for advertising and communications agencies in Europe, the EACA regularly focuses on key issues confronting the industry and offers thought leadership and new ideas to promote sector and member development and growth.

With this in mind, Creative Culture will be leading the discussion on ‘What it takes to compete for (and win) international accounts’, illustrating with case study examples and offering solutions for agencies to become more competitive during international pitches. This involves using tailored and bespoke local market intelligence and insight and delivering executions in local language for the most effective results for their clients – both current and prospective.

Key to the discussion will be to challenge the preconceived idea that you need to be part of a network to compete for and win large international accounts. On the contrary, Mélanie and Paul will demonstrate the many ways smaller agencies can prove to be more agile, flexible, bespoke and efficient than large networks.

This EACA meeting is part of the thought leadership programme centred on cross-cultural communications that Creative Culture is championing. Other initiatives include the new series of Breakfast Roundtables – informal discussions that focus on communicating in individual markets – and the launch of the Advisory Board, comprised of senior leaders from marketing and communications, business management, digital economy, academia and cultural consulting. All members share a passion for making communication across cultures and markets more relevant, understandable and clear, and to provide industry leadership with innovative discussion and engagement.

The EACA represents more than 2,500 communications agencies and agency associations from nearly 30 European countries that directly employ more than 120,000 people. EACA members include advertising, media, digital, branding and PR agencies.