Social Media

Companies digging into #CincoDeMayo real-time marketing

Cinco de Mayo kicks things off for Constellation Brands
Cinco de Mayo, the American version
Taco Bell's Cinco de Mayo gift
Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo—the fifth of May—is commonly celebrated by Americans with chips, salsa and excessive tequila. And, as with many other holidays, big companies take to the Internet with some clever real-time marketing to give their products an extra 140 characters of fame.

Before there was a #CincoDeDrinko hashtag, the fifth of May commemorated the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. In Mexico, it's a fairly solemn holiday, which has been compared to how Texans remember the Alamo.

For most Americans, though, the holiday is a celebration of Mexican culture, and many companies overlook the more serious tone of the holiday and promote a more festive air. Cue company mascots wearing sombreros and playing the maracas!

A potential downside, though: Cultural sensitivities mean that Cinco de Mayo homages might not come across to the public how companies imagined they would.

One brand learned this lesson the hard way. In preparation for the holiday, Nylon, a fashion company, unveiled a Cinco de Mayo-themed apparel collection.

From shirts featuring a mariachi band paired with the words "Juan Direction" to a tank with a jar of mayo beneath the words "Cinco de," some people were not pleased. Remezcla, a media brand for Latino millennials, spoke out at the time, with a "Facepalm Alert" on their site.

Nylon CEO Paul Greenberg told CNBC: "We are very sorry and regret that we misjudged how these items would be perceived. We have decided we will no longer sell these products. This is a first for us, as we have never received this kind of reaction before. In the future, we will work to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. We regret our lapse of judgement."

Here are some of the big companies that participated in the Cinco de Mayo Twitter-fest.