Vintage Ad Archive: Mexico and Cinco de Mayo!

AlcProfCincoHeader
AlcProfCincoHeader

Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexico and Mexican-American communities of the western United States, and has since spread around the world as a day celebrating Mexico's culture and history. May 5th marks the anniversary of the Battle Of Puebla in 1862, when Mexican forces won a major victory over the encroaching French army, and that decisive triumph over a larger and better-equipped opponent has since become emblematic of Mexicans' dedication to preserving their cultural identity and traditions.

Over the last century and a half, it's become a holiday known for widespread celebration and revelry – a time of music, feasting, and, of course, drinking.  And while the specific phenomenon of "Cinco de Mayo promotions" have only become widespread over the last few decades, alcohol companies have long used Mexico as a point of focus in their advertising campaigns, and marketed their products by capitalizing on the country's culture and imagery.  (Or at least their own interpretations of the culture and imagery.)

So this Cinco de Mayo, I've taken another trawl through my booze-centric library, and pulled out some classic materials from bygone days promoting Tequila, Margaritas, Mexican Beer, and other Mexican (or faux-Mexican) beverages.

Tequila is, of course, Mexico's national spirit, and the first drink many people associate with Cinco de Mayo.

Corona is another Cinco de Mayo standby, a brand that's become tied to the celebration thanks to a number of Cinco-centric promotions and campaigns over the past decade or so.  It's one of Mexico's oldest beers, and though it's only been available in this country since 1976, it quickly established itself as the best-selling import in the U.S. (a position it's held consistently since the turn of the '80s).

Other Mexican breweries have also made the leap to the U.S. market, and created memorable campaigns.

And there are also plenty of other companies that celebrate the culture of Mexico.  Kahlua, for example, has never been shy about celebrating the land of its heritage.

Kahlua, 1963
Kahlua, 1963

Cuervo toyed with other products, including a Tequila-almond liqueur that made a point of advertising its roots in Mexican "tradition".

Cuervo Almondorado, 1978
Cuervo Almondorado, 1978

But when it comes right down to it, there's nothing like a good Margarita if you want to get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit...

...And those certainly look nothing like a good Margarita.

I'm usually happy to embrace retro drinking motifs, but I draw the line at pre-mixed Margarita-in-a-can (even if it does come in strawberry).  I'll hold out for the real thing.

Ah.  That's better.  Exactly what I was looking for.  The perfect thing to sip on as I prepare a proper Mexican feast, mix up some punch, and wait for my guests to arrive.

Tequila
Tequila

And on behalf of all of us at Alcohol Professor, I want to wish you and yours a happy and safe Cinco de Mayo!  ¡Salud!