Don Julio celebrates Cinco de Mayo with beverage vouchers and an NFT

Dive Brief:

  • Diageo tequila brand Don Julio is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a campaign supporting bar and restaurant workers that includes giveaways of vouchers and charitable donations, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive. Don Julio will raise money for the newly created Tequila Don Julio Fund by auctioning an nonfungible token (NFT) of a design by Mexican artist Claudio Limón at Rarible, the online marketplace for crypto assets, for Cinco de Mayo.

  • Don Julio is giving away $125,000 in physical and digital vouchers called “Don Julio Cincos,” which are valued at $5 a piece and the brand is urging people to spend at a bar or restaurant. The vouchers are available by visiting the @DonJulioTequila page on Instagram and swiping up on an image of the Don Julio Cinco in the brand’s story until May 5. The brand also installed an “Automated Tequila Machine” in West Hollywood, California, that gives away the vouchers, which have a QR code and PIN to redeem with payment app Venmo.

  • The brand pledged to donate $1 million in the next four years to charity groups, starting with No Us Without You LA and the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation as part of the campaign targeting several pandemic-era developments, such as hospitality industry relief and brands jumping on the NFT train. 

Dive Insight:

Don Julio’s campaign for Cinco de Mayo combines a variety of elements to raise awareness for its brand, including a commitment to helping bar and restaurant workers. The pandemic has had a disproportionately negative effect on the hospitality industry, whose workforce is 24% Hispanic, compared with about 18% for all industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pledge of $1 million to charity groups, including those that support workers in the beleaguered hospitality industry, can help to build consumer goodwill toward Don Julio as a brand that gives back to the community.

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The campaign also is notable for including an auction for artwork in the form of an NFT, which has gained more attention this year as collectors bid up the price of the one-of-a-kind digital images. The tokens are a form of cryptocurrency that can be bought and sold as collectors’ items through a blockchain that ensures their authenticity. A variety of brands this year have created NFTs as part of their campaigns, such as Procter & Gamble’s Charmin toilet paper, which auctioned several original digital artworks on Rarible last month. The brand received bids of as much as 1.45 wrapped ethereum (WETH), a digital coin with a current value of about $3,150, for the digital art, its bidding history shows. P&G donated the proceeds from the auctions to charity.

Cinco de Mayo has become a significant occasion for alcohol sales, and the pandemic last year spurred a 54% jump in tequila sales as consumers stocked up for celebrations at home, according to Nielsen data cited by MarketWatch. This year, only 22% of consumers said they expected to be able to celebrate the holiday with no expected COVID impact, compared with 33% who said the same about Mother’s Day and 29% for Memorial Day, according to market research firm Numerator. Its research found that consumers are 49% less likely to go out to eat or out for drinks this year than in prior years on Cinco de Mayo, while 38% more likely to order takeout or delivery. Almost three quarters (74%) of consumers will spend about the same or more on the occasion this year than in past years, the survey found.

During the second half of last year, Diageo saw sales growth of 12% in North America amid growing consumer demand, market share growth and the replenishment of inventories by distributors and retailers, according to its interim results. Despite the strength in North America, the company reported a 4.5% decline in net sales to 6.9 billion pounds ($9.6 billion) as organic growth of 1% was more than offset by shifts in currency values.

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