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.