Día de los Muertos: The Super Bowl of Creativity in Mexico

The rebirth of an old cultural tradition that has gone global

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One of the wonderful things about global creativity in our industry is witnessing how cultural celebrations and traditions have evolved into opportunities for brands and creative companies to authentically engage with audiences.

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrated Nov. 1-2 in Mexico, has transcended its origins to become a holiday of creativity. As a proud “creativa mexicana,” I’ve had the privilege of observing this cultural phenomenon and how Mexico’s creative renaissance is reshaping storytelling and ideas for Día de los Muertos.

Just as audiences worldwide eagerly anticipate Super Bowl commercials in the U.S. and holiday advertisements in the U.K., people in Mexico eagerly await the creative ads crafted by brands during Día de los Muertos. This time of year has become the pinnacle of creativity and ideation, offering a unique opportunity for brands and creative companies to explore storytelling in imaginative and authentic ways.

Mexico City, a vibrant global creative center

It’s no secret that Mexico City has blossomed into a vibrant global creative center, renowned for its world-class gastronomy, award-winning cinema, musical contributions and more.

The country is currently witnessing the convergence of tradition and evolution, where cultures of the past and present collide. As you stroll through the streets of CDMX (the abbreviation for Ciudad de México), you’ll see that the city radiates with creative energy, providing a platform for local stories to resonate on the global stage.

This isn’t just a marketing opportunity; it’s a nod to the profound creativity ingrained within Mexican culture.

A rebirth of Day of the Dead

It’s undeniable that Día de los Muertos has found its place in the global creative spotlight in recent years. While many may have learned about the holiday through Disney’s touching feature Coco, its significance extends far beyond what’s depicted in the animated film.

Recently, the celebrations surrounding the holiday have undergone a rebirth, emerging as a wonderful marketing showcase that both celebrates and delves deep into local Mexican culture. This transformation isn’t merely about cultural appreciation; it’s a testament to the authentic creativity within Mexican society. In short, it’s our own version of the ad world’s Super Bowl.

Brands, creators and makers are increasingly recognizing the potential of Día de los Muertos, investing not just financially but also in time, effort and creativity to develop compelling stories that resonate with Mexican audiences and get people talking. For example, Barbie recently introduced a Día de los Muertos doll that beautifully captures the spirit and tradition of this celebration. Nike debuted a new Día de los Muertos collection, paying homage to the everlasting family ties and memories between the dead and the living.

Cerveza Victoria, considered Mexico’s oldest beer brand, has launched a campaign that invites Mexicans on a journey to discover life after death, weaving together a beautifully told film and a unique corrido (a form of musical expression in Mexico). This marks the first personalized corrido created specifically for Día de los Muertos, a nod to the growing cultural significance of this holiday and a celebration of life and remembrance that deeply echoes the Mexican spirit.

With these three examples, you’ll notice how brands are authentically adding to an experience and moment. And they’re doing so by tapping technology and showcasing appropriate products in a respectful manner, rather than resorting to careless mass commercialization that can cheapen traditions and ideas.

From local to global

There are two key things creatives and marketers should keep in mind.

The first is the importance of local relevancy and how it can scale and become global. As more top brands celebrate Día de los Muertos, it’s become clear that tailoring communication efforts to local customs can foster authentic connections with consumers while extending their reach.

It’s also evident that younger generations are demonstrating a growing enthusiasm for holidays like Día de los Muertos. All of this underscores the idea that cross-cultural (and generational) understanding can break several barriers and forge meaningful connections.

As we embrace this creative renaissance in Mexico, we must acknowledge the responsibility that comes with harnessing the power of Día de los Muertos—or any cultural tradition for that matter—for marketing and storytelling. It’s about more than just selling products; it’s about telling the truth, giving a brand an authentic voice and respecting a cherished tradition. When executed with care, these ideas can become a testament to the cultural appreciation that exists in our global creative industry.

As storytellers and creatives, we hold the responsibility to honor this tradition, to share its beauty and to celebrate the richness of Mexican culture. This is an exciting time for creativity in Mexico, and I can’t wait to see how Día de los Muertos continues to inspire and connect people around the world.