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Día de los Muertos 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

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Día de los Muertos 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With over half of all Hispanic Americans (and two-thirds of Unacculturated) celebrating Día de los Muertos, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what consumers expect from brands like yours this Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Latin-American holiday celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed on. The holiday’s roots are predominantly Mexican, and celebrations take place on November 1st and 2nd. While Day of the Dead occurs around Halloween and may share some similar imagery such as skulls, these two holidays differ greatly and should not be conflated with one another.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how Hispanic American consumers celebrate, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is Día de los Muertos?

Día de los Muertos is a two-day holiday honoring the deceased by celebrating the connection between life and death. What makes this occasion unique is its joyous—rather than mournful—tone. Celebrants gather together in remembrance of friends and family and have colorful parties and parades. They share happy or humorous memories. They make special meals and altars known as ofrendas (offerings) made up of their loved one’s favorite foods, items, pictures, and more. All of these traditions and symbolic gestures are meant to create a welcoming environment to attract the deceased’s spirits back to Earth on this annual occasion marked to keep their memory alive.

Traditions of Día de los Muertos

    • Ofrendas are offerings made to the dead and are built in the home or at the cemetery. They traditionally consist of paper cutouts (papel picado), marigold petals, pan de muerto pastry bread, and personal items, such as photographs, favorite foods, or other sentimental objects.
    • Skeletal imagery, such as the iconic La Catrina figure, show up in masks, puppets, colorful costumes, and face paintings.
    • Sugar skulls are a staple ornament during celebrations, often not meant to be eaten. Edible fare includes Mole Negro (pepper and chocolate sauce), Sopa Azteca (tortilla soup), and any foods favored by the deceased.

"(Spanish) We put up an altar with photographs of the loved ones who left and visit their graves, adorning them with flowers."

Unacculturated, Millenial, Man
Visiting gravesites and making alters (ofrendas) tops the list of ways Hispanic Americans, especially Bicultural and Unacculturated, celebrate Día de los Muertos. Decorating and having special foods and drinks are also central to the holiday. The Bicultural segment over-indexes on a few other celebratory activities, like having parties, watching special movies, and listening to special music.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays & Occasions study, 52% of all Hispanic Americans, and 15% of the total American population, celebrate Day of the Dead. When we look by acculturation, we see it’s most widely celebrated by the Unacculturated (67%) and Bicultural (54%) segments, especially when compared to the Acculturated segment’s celebration rates which hover at 29%.

Día de los Muertos celebrations are both deeply personal and communal. So many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

From the celebrants’ perspective, brands generally have the green light. A plurality of Hispanic Americans (32%) say that all brands and companies should celebrate Day of the Dead in their marketing. Bicultural (33%) and Unacculturated (42%) Hispanic segments are especially comfortable with brands activating, whereas Acculturated are least likely to care.

Americans of other races/ethnicities tend to be positive, indifferent, or unfamiliar with the holiday altogether. The good news is there’s little to no opposition across the board. This means that activating won’t cause backlash from other segments.

Brands that want to activate around Day of the Dead can do so in a way that’s well-received within the Hispanic segment (and simultaneously educational to other less familiar segments) by showcasing the holiday’s meaning and importance. This is the number one topic Hispanic Americans say brands should focus on. This type of messaging will be especially resonant with Bicultural and Unacculturated groups that are strongly rooted to their culture and proud to express their heritage.

One brand that’s developed an excellent educational campaign on Día de los Muertos is McCormick in partnership with Poderistas. Part of the campaign includes a landing page with well-researched facts about the history and significance of the holiday.

To learn more about Día de los Muertos, we suggest the following sources:

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

For years, multicultural Americans have driven all the country’s population growth and have added trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. These changes can be seen everywhere from food and media to healthcare and financial services, and so much more.

Cultural Fluency is the key to authentically connect with American consumers across race and ethnicity. But, engaging multicultural consumers is only the starting point. Cultures evolve through generational change and forces encompassing how we identify ourselves, including gender, sexuality, family structures and much more.

Navigating these changes can be challenging, even for the most seasoned and culturally aware brands. In fact, no single marketer can speak well to every segment without understanding the incredible transformation of the American consumer.

For more than a decade, Collage Group has helped 200+ iconic American brands engage, support, and champion the voices of America’s diverse consumers. Explore our new video series to learn how you too can unleash the power of culture to drive brand growth.

Fill out the form below to connect with our Sales team learn how you can get started on your path to Cultural Fluency.

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Media Consumption Across Gender

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Media Consumption Across Gender

Media is a major aspect of American life. Whether it’s social media, visual entertainment, or audio content, Americans spend a significant amount of time and attention in the media sphere. American’s focus on media presents an awesome opportunity for brands to connect with consumers. But to do this efficiently and effectively, brands need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

  • Are they following specific topics?
  • Are they following influencers?
  • Are they looking for products to purchase?
  • Are they just killing time?
  • Is it device dependent?
  • Does it depend on the race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender of the characters or hosts?

Collage Group’s 2021 Media Study answers these questions. Our research reveals the specific platforms media users go to by gender, and what they’re using them for. This research also dives deep into content and platform drivers, including topics of interest and what consumers value in the personalities (e.g., influencers, podcast hosts, characters) they interact with across social, visual, and audio media.

Below are a several key insights we unearthed about media consumption by gender.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on attitudes and behaviors around Media Consumption by Gender.

Media Consumption by Gender

Social Media

Key Insight: Women visit social media sites to keep up with friends and family significantly more than men. However, women’s platform preferences vary by age.

About 9 in 10 women who use social media do so to keep in touch with family and friends. Overall, Facebook is the most popular platform for women staying in touch with people they know, but there are significant differences in platform preference between younger women (18-40) and older women (41-75). While 78% of older women primarily use Facebook as their main platform to stay connected with others, younger women use a more varied line up of platforms with their 2nd (Instagram) and 3rd (Snapchat) choices garnering substantially higher usage rates than older women’s respective preferences.

Women are More Likely to use Social Media than Men

​Visual Media

Key Insight: Compared to other consumers, younger women watch cable TV the least and stream video content the most.

While almost a third of older men and women still subscribe to cable and satellite TV, only about a quarter of younger women now pay for traditional TV services. While all groups are likely to use multiple visual streaming platforms to access the content their favorite content, younger women subscribe to more streaming platforms per person than both men their age and older consumers of any gender.

Younger Women are Using the Most Streaming Services

Audio Media

Key Insight: When choosing podcasts and radio shows, women prioritize relaxing content.

Over one third of women say they prefer podcasts that help them relax and forget about their worries. When it comes to choosing radio shows, even more women (43%) say that relaxation and providing a reprieve from worry is a primary consideration. In both cases, women are significantly more likely to use these criteria than men when selecting podcasts and radio shows.

Women Prioritize Podcast and Radio Shows that are Relaxing

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Targeting Super Influencers

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Hispanics are not just interesting because they’re growing fast, but because they lead the cultural conversation. In our latest in-depth study, Hispanic respondents were 54% more likely to be in the top quartile of cultural openness than total market, and 12% more likely to be in the top quartile of influence. This means that Hispanics are critical cross-cultural influencers. In other words, marketers can think of them as cultural force multipliers.

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