How Activations Are Helping Life Style Brands Connect With Millennials.

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

In the first in our series of Global search & spin case studies committed to studying how agencies across the world are helping brands build meaningful experiences across multiple platforms we look at Switch, a US based agency that helped Exotico a Mexican Tequila brand activate millennials across food and drinks festivals in the US.

Tequila Made Me Do It! (c) Event Marketer. Exotico Tequila activation by Switch St Louis.

The Agency

Switch is an experiential marketing and advertising agency headquartered in St. Louis Missouri in the United States.

The agency originated in April 1980 as Busch Creative Services Corporation, a corporate communications and creative arm of the giant alcoholic beverage company Anheuser- Busch At the time, the company was formed to create and produce corporate business meetings, retail sales promotions, event/mobile event marketing, interactive media and exhibits. Busch Creative Services served A-B and other non A-B clients until October 16, 2002 when key executives John Nickel, Mike O'Neill and Kevin Quigley acquired the company from Anheuser-Busch and have since operated as Switch. The agency is dedicated to powerful experiences, delivering events, digital activations, branding, VR, environments and field tours that are worth sharing.

The Brand

Exotico® is a Tequila handcrafted with tradition by the Gonzalez Distillery – a family distillery spanning three generations and one of Mexico’s most respected makers of tequila.

The Activation

With its sights set on millennials and their penchant for all things handcrafted, Exotico Tequila hit Hispanic food festivals across the U.S. with a playful activation fuelled by shaved ice cocktails. From mid-August to mid-September, the brand, whose spirits are crafted in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, brought its heritage to life at festivals in San Diego, Santa Cruz, Charlotte, Chicago and Houston, along with smaller activations in grocery and liquor stores in those markets. In addition to the cocktail samples, Exotico engaged consumers with carnival games, photo ops and giveaways.

““We thought this would be a fun way to share the spirit in a different way than just a straight pour,””

Equipped with a custom sampling cart and two vibrant, side-by-side tents, Exotico dished out shaved ice cocktials infused with its Blanco varietal, an un-aged, 100 percent blue agave tequila that was right up its target consumer’s alley. In addition to boosting awareness, the brand’s goal was to differentiate itself by offering festival goers an unconventional sampling experience.

“We thought this would be a fun way to share the spirit in a different way than just a straight pour,” says Aimee Loyet, assistant brand manager at Luxco, Exotico’s parent brand. “People walking around with a really cool shaved ice cocktail at festivals gets recognition, and it drove traffic to the booth.”

Exotico offered different games themed around a colorful sugar skull, the brand’s logo and a traditional Mexican symbol associated with the Day of the Dead which is a famous Mexican cultural celebration similar to African masquerade celebrations. One of such games was a ring toss-style game, while the other was similar to those found at carnivals. Winners received branded swag, which changed depending on the market, and included small merchandise and gifts items like hats, tees, tote bags and sunglasses.

Consumers could also snap photos with props like mini mexican sombreros and signs bearing phrases like “Tequila made me do it.” The brand encouraged social sharing using the hash tag #MakeItExotico.

The Brand Manager believes that “Live events are always a great way to interact with consumers directly and hear their feedback and also provide them with an opportunity to interact with the brand,” The activation also offered the parent company a good opportunity to show love to some different markets that either are great tequila markets or markets with