Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is almost here. Is your brand ready for it?
Held on Nov. 1 – Nov. 2, it is a deeply culturally significant holiday that originated in Mexico but is now recognized throughout Latin America and beyond. The holiday honors deceased loved ones with parties, parades and costumes, according to National Geographic.
PepsiCo’s Rockstar Energy drink honors this holiday with its new national campaign, Proud Hasta Los Huesos (Proud to the Bones). The campaign ushers in the upcoming Day of the Dead holiday with custom cans for Rockstar Energy Drinks, Manzanita Sol, Crush and Brisk, part of the “Proud Hasta Los Huesos” limited-edition can collection.
Mexican illustrator and artist Joaquín Nava designed the cans for the campaign, which feature the image of La Catrina, a recognizable symbol for Día de los Muertos.
“Proud Hasta Los Huesos honors Día de los Muertos tradition and encourages the discovery of a new generation of talented Latino creators who use art as a cultural expression, especially those intrinsically preserving tradition,” according to a PepsiCo press release.
Other design elements on the cans include:
- Signature colors surrounded by customary ofrendas (altars)
- Alebrije icons (spiritual guides)
- A Xolo, or Mexican hairless dog
- Feathered serpent
- Other distinct decorative cues like marigold flowers and papel picado (paper banners)
The Rockstar Pure Zero fruit punch can, in particular, is black, white, red and gray. The can is mesmerizing to the eye and a bit mysterious as the stoic, prominently placed La Catrina beckons the observer to take a sip. La Catrina’s hollowed-out eyes seemingly also draws people in to learn more about otherworldly matters around Día de los Muertos.
“Every can has a tie to the Mexican community and culture while recognizing the past, per the release.
PR Daily sat down with Esperanza Teasdale, VP and general manager, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America, to talk about the campaign.
Teasdale said that this campaign came about because PepsiCo studied Hispanic celebrations and holidays.
Tapping into that knowledge, PepsiCo developed its cans to resonate with audiences and their cultural celebrations.
“Cultural authenticity across all creative touchpoints of the campaign was critical, especially to preserve the symbolism and meaning behind the holiday,” Teasdale said, adding that partnering with Nava was an important element. Nava was given the freedom to bring “his artistic vision to life through the rich cultural lens of Día de los Muertos.”
“(Nava) did a great job leveraging color for our packaging and illustration of Latino custom and nuances,” Teasdale said. “He does beautiful work, very artistic and full of culture.”
Teasdale’s said that PepsiCo’s Hispanic business unit team was dedicated to using its employees as a cultural resource for the campaign.
Teasdale said that PepsiCo’s Hispanic Business Unit is comprised of a diverse team from across the Hispanic diaspora, including consultants and a multicultural insights team. They worked together to ensure the campaign authentically captures the “cultural nuances of this beloved Mexican holiday,” she said.
The beautiful artwork draws the eye and piques interest of prospective buyers.
“Our cans, really, (are) the thing people see before they make that purchase,” Teasdale said.
In addition to driving growth, PepsiCo wants to educate more people on what Día de los Muertos is about.
“It’s about celebrating the life of those who have lived on and who have just passed in beautiful ways and encouraging people to make their own ofrendas,” Teasdale said.
The bone (and heart) of the matter
Teasdale said that the campaign slogan felt “really smart” and “beautiful” because it drives home the essence of how people feel about being Latino, “Proud to the Bones.”
“There is a lot of pride, a lot of optimism, a lot of passion. The whole concept captures that really nicely for a moment in time that celebrates life,” Teasdale said.
Rockstar Pure Zero cans are available nationwide; Manzanita Sol and Brisk cans are located in the western and central regions of the U.S. The Crush cans are available in markets including Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
PepsiCo chose these metropolitan areas to cater to some of the largest Hispanic, Mexican and Mexican-American populations located there.
PepsiCo used the @RockstarEnergy Instagram page to promote a limited-edition Rockstar Pure Zero ceremonial box, which includes items to put on people’s own altars like cans, custom papel picada, calavera (skull) candles and La Catrina temporary tattoos. Teasdale said that Instagram was the brand’s choice as it is a “highly visual platform where consumers go to share and be inspired by visually compelling content.”
“With the limited-edition cans serving as the artistic anchor of the Proud Hasta Los Huesos campaign, we knew that Instagram was the right place to showcase the beautiful artwork and rich Mexican culture through visual storytelling that would capture the attention of our socially engaged audience,” Teasdale said.
Teasdale said that the biggest message here for PR and comms pros is to be authentic for the culture they are trying to reach.
“Help people celebrate more who they are,” Teasdale said.
Sherri Kolade is a writer and conference producer at Ragan Communications. She enjoys watching old films, reading and building an authentically curated life. Follow her on LinkedIn. Have a great PR/comms speaker in mind for one of Ragan’s events? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.