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Hotel of Legends

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Cerveza Victoria beer is one of Mexico’s best-loved traditional brands. It has been around for more than 150 years and sells 30.5 hectolitres per month.  

But 18 to 24-year olds don’t buy it. They are more likely to buy American brands like Corona as they are perceived to be cooler than the traditional Cerveza Victoria. 

MediaCom's challenge was to shift this perception by making the local brand relevant for its young Mexican audience. And there is nothing more Mexican than “Día de Muertos”.  

This event, in English Day of the Dead, falls on November 2nd every year and is celebrated by 97% of Mexicans. It marks the moment the gates of heaven open, allowing people to reunite with their loved ones during 24 hours.  

The only problem was it was also seen as old fashioned – where celebrations are considered sober and boring. The target audience prefers to celebrate Halloween, which falls on the same day and seems to be full of fun, excitement and drinks. 

To drive the change, it needed to give its target audience a reason to celebrate the most Mexican of festivals, Día de Muertos, over Halloween, and what better than to do it with the most Mexican of all brands, Cerveza Victoria.  

It was time to turn off Halloween and celebrate the Day of the Dead! 


Mexico is a country that loves its legends and horror stories, with as many as 40% of young people believing in ghosts and spirits.  

One of the most famous ghosts is La Llorona – a woman who drowned her children to be with the man she loved only to be rejected by him. She is a symbol of Día de Muertos. 

This legend became a focal point for the agency's three-stage strategy: 

Stage one would see it  bring La Llorona back to life through a jaw-dropping, unbranded video stunt, seeded across the media landscape. This would show the young audience that Mexico’s legends are real. It needed to create contrast with Halloween’s fake vampires and monsters. 

Stage two would be the big reveal. It showed Cerveza Victoria’s role with behind-the-scenes footage, re-positioning it as a traditional Mexican brand that is moving along with present times, making it a fun & exciting brand. 

Stage three would convert its already captivated audience through an experiential ‘haunted house’ activation, Hotel of Legends Victoria, linking Cerveza Victoria’s role in Día de Muertos tradition. People would be able to buy tickets to experience the hotel through an online portal, which would open for a month during the run up to Día de Muertos. 

Each stage would be tailored to reach and appeal to the young target audience, bringing them on a journey from discovery all the way to experience.  


The launch video brought La Llorona back to life, showing her walking along Reforma, one of Mexico’s most famous streets, through real traffic cameras. As she walked down the road, a car would drive straight through her.  

The video was seeded out through digital channels, shocking the nation. Within two days, more than 200 publications had promoted the video, sending it viral and reaching more than 18 million people.  

The agency then unveiled the truth behind the video and showed how Cerveza Victoria made this happen through behind-the-scenes footage. This also included a teaser for the third stage – the haunted house experience. 

The Hotel of Legends Victoria opened eight days later in Mexico City and gave an intrigued audience the chance to experience the legend of La Llorona in real life. 

To drive ticket sales, it retargeted young people in Mexico City using a fake movie trailer. It used contextual segmentation to reach those watching other movie trailers on YouTube, terrifying them with Day of the Dead legends.  

Once the hotel opened, the agency helped it become THE experience of the Día de Muertos season by getting people to share or live the experience for themselves. This included SnapChat filters, branded Facebook profile pictures, 360-degree videos touring the hotel, a reality show with influencers who spent the night at the Hotel (both on Cerveza Victoria’s YouTube channel) and even a Día de Muertos closing party. 

It became an experience no one wanted to miss! 


The Hotel was THE place to be at for the young audience. Not only was the hotel instalment extended a week because of its high popularity, but the tickets sold out just a week after advertising. Because of this, additional times and tickets were offered for more people to join the experience. 

Post Hotel of Legends, Cerveza Victoria has become part of Mexican tradition for turning an entire generation of young people into celebrating a nationally-sacred festival. And each stage of the strategy had an incredible effect on the target audience. 

La Llorona’s magical reappearance was viewed 2.4 million times. 4.4 million people interacted with the brand. 

Cerveza Victoria became the trending topic on Día de Muertos, 

And, most importantly, sales among its target audience sky rocketed. It increased preference of Victoria (month to month, October to November) by 2.4% and a 4.86% growth in people naming Cerveza Victoria as the last beer they purchased. 

This campaign has changed the way young people view the most Mexican of celebrations, and accomplished the brand's main challenge: young people in Mexico are now proud drinkers of Cerveza Victoria! 

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Brand Owner:
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Drinks (alcoholic)
September - November 2016
Media Channel:
  • FMAs winner
  • FMAs shortlisted

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