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Espolòn Tequila Launches a New Premium Product with a ‘Crystal-Clear’ Pop-up Experience

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The layout of the Urban Cenote pop-up included a top floor with an open bar and a ground floor offering  sampling and interactive experiences.

In Mexico, cenotes are natural wonders—sinkholes among age-old caves with crystal-clear waters where adventurers can swim, scuba dive and relax. For the U.S. launch of its new premium product, Cristalino, Espolòn Tequila wanted to draw attention to its roots in Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, by recreating the idyllic atmosphere of the Yucatán Peninsula’s cenotes with a pop-up in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Sept. 19-23. The Urban Cenote pop-up offered a cultural and natural immersion into the making of Espolòn Cristalino with tastings, interactive experiences and performances by Latinx artists that tied into National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sean Yelle, senior category director-white spirits at Campari Group, says the brand aimed to create a space that consumers wouldn’t normally see in downtown Manhattan. Split across two levels, the pop-up welcomed attendees on the top floor with an open bar and messaging on Espolòn Tequila’s product lineup and awards, as well as a description of a cenote to set the stage for the experience. Downstairs, the theme came to life with digital projections of water running down a wall around a large graphic of the Espolòn Cristalino bottle; beats by Mexican dj Paurro pumping throughout the space; two swings in front of a Tulum cenote backdrop for consumers to relax in; water and rock features; neon signs of the brand name; and an interactive “mirror” that transformed attendees’ faces into skulls for a #skelfie photo moment.

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“Social is an important part of our business,” Yelle says, “but particularly with tequila, or any type of spirit, there’s nothing more tangible than that moment when you’re enjoying it. And for us being able to bring a cenote to New York City while you have that experience, I think there’s just nothing purer in terms of how we want people to experience the brand.”

The Urban Cenote’s first night focused on trade, distributor and internal partners, while the second was exclusive to about 150 influencers, media representatives and VIPs, who were treated to a performance by Afro-Indigenous rapper Princess Nokia. The last three evenings were open to consumers, and all reservations and walk-in slots were fully booked, bringing in 450 attendees per night. The marketing team invited highly engaged Espolòn customers and released invitations through Eventbrite. Adding in some “light” social media posting, the pop-up’s reservations filled up in 36 hours.

Yelle says gone are the days of virtual happy hours and tastings; the Urban Cenote showed a different kind of energy—true joy at being back together in person.

“It really comes down to the ability to have that one-on-one high-touch with our consumers,” he says. “We felt it was appropriate, if not necessary, to make sure that they can enjoy Espolòn Cristalino with the glass in hand and the right environment because you make them brand ambassadors from there on out. They’ll go back and talk about the time they went to the Urban Cenote and how cool and fun it was anytime they see that bottle.” Agency: Berlin Cameron.

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Espolòn evoked a traditional cenote in Tulum for a tranquil photo moment.

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