Cuervo Works to Change Labor Day

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Mexican tequila maker Jose Cuervo International is running an online marketing campaign in the United States to switch Labor Day from the first Monday in September to whatever is the official last day of summer.


Part of the CuervoNation's "Endless Summer" celebration, the campaign seeks signatures for a petition to Congress. The registered participant who gets the most number of friends to sign wins a summer party pack.


"From a database marketing strategy standpoint, we're actually collecting consumer data about demographic and product usage for remarketing purposes," said Maria Mandel, vice president and director of interactive marketing at Cuervo agency DraftDigital, New York.


The campaign, whose other goal is to push grassroots awareness of Cuervo, comprises banners, e-mail and the Web site at www.cuervonation.com. The effort is supported by ads in magazines like Jane, FHM, Maxim, Razor and Time Out New York as well as radio, events and public relations. Offline media directs traffic to the site.


The banners, which broke Aug. 14, run on the sites of Jane, FHM, Maxim, Nylon, Out, Paper, Premiere, Time Out New York, Surface and Razor. Media also has been bought on radio station Web sites.


A typical banner is titled, "Save our summer." Online visitors are asked to click to enter CuervoNation.com to delay Labor Day and win the party pack. The gifts include a Cuervo margarita mix, margarita blender, portable grill, compact stereo system and $250 gift check for party supplies.


One-off e-mails drop this week to 100,000 consumers in the Cuervo online house file. Identical in message to the banners, the e-mails can be forwarded. The CuervoNation.com site, too, encourages this viral aspect.


The Labor Day petition e-mail, however, is separate from the usual newsletters Cuervo sends to its database. That newsletter is called CuervoNation Passport.


To participate in the petition, previously registered consumers do not need to enter demographic and other data about themselves. First-time visitors have to offer such information, including e-mail address. Registration and the signing of the petition -- which will be delivered to Congress in print format -- are done on CuervoNation.com.


CuervoNation refers to an island in the Caribbean owned by the company. It also represents a community of Cuervo fans. The English and Spanish Web site offers features such as the customizable My CuervoNation, details on the island and Cuervo Network short films on Cuervo events.


"For us, it's getting close to our customers and learning more about them, and CuervoNation is the platform for the brand," said Sam Chadha, global integrated marketing manager at Jose Cuervo International in New York. "The actual promotion mechanics encourage consumers to contact likeminded people to gather as many names as possible."


Cuervo is the world's leading maker of tequila, exporting more than 50 million liters yearly. The portfolio includes Jose Cuervo Especial, Jose Cuervo Classico, Jose Cuervo Tradicional and Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia. It also makes the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix and Authentic Cuervo Margarita.


Tequila competitors include Sauze and Don Julio, half-owned by Cuervo. But they are much smaller than Cuervo, both in the United States and overseas.


"Our competitors really are not in the tequila industry," Chadha said. "We look at Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Absolut, Bacardi and Jack Daniels as competitors."


Cuervo consumers typically are ages 21-29. They skew slightly toward males. Sixty percent of Cuervo consumers claim to have broadband access, making them and their friends ideal for this campaign created by DraftDigital, Cuervo's interactive agency for three years.


"Cuervo's all about summer, having a good time, friends," Chadha said. "What better way to involve consumers in the spirit of the brand than to rally them together and really extend the good time they have?"


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