Donald Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric created a fantastic opportunity for a Mexican beer company

Beer diplomacy.
Beer diplomacy.
Image: Tecate USA
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Although Donald Trump didn’t touch on his proposal to build a border wall between the US and Mexico during last night’s presidential debate, his showdown with Hillary Clinton proved to be a great advertising opportunity for Mexican beer maker Tecate.

The company aired a TV ad on Fox News during the debate. It opens with an ominous desert scene, bisected by a snaking barrier stretching as far as the eye can see.

“The time has come for a wall, a tremendous wall. The best wall,” the voiceover explains. ”The Tecate beer wall. A wall that brings us together,” it continues, showing a group of Mexican and American beer enthusiasts enjoying cold cans of Tecate together across what turns out to be a three-foot ledge.

Mexicans and their culture are practically mainstream in the US, and not just because there are some 33 million people of Mexican origin living there. Many non-Hispanics, too, are eager consumers of Mexican traditions and products, from piñatas to guacamole and chips—and Mexican beer, sales of which were worth $1.9 billion in 2015, according to data from the International Trade Centre, a joint UN and WTO agency. That makes Mexico the biggest beer exporter to the US by far, according to Euromonitor International.

Until now, Tecate had been focusing on “bicultural Hispanics” in the US, people fluent in both countries’ languages and customs. But Donald Trump’s prominence and his controversial comments about Mexico throughout the campaign gave the company a chance to target a more general audience for the first time. The presidential debate was expected to draw more than 100 million viewers.

The brewer, which is owned by Heineken, hired Saatchi & Saatchi NY with instructions to insert the brand into the public debate about Trump’s immigration policies and “talk about how beer unites people,” said Felix Palau, a Tecate executive. “We felt we had a unique opportunity because of our Mexican background,” he added.

Not only that, but Tecate, a small city in the Mexican state of Baja California and the beer’s namesake, straddles the US-Mexico border. It sits right across from Tecate, Calif. The ad was shot around that area, through which Trump’s barrier would run if it were ever built.

Some watchers who caught the spot, which also aired on Hispanic-centric Telemundo and Univision, are warming up to Tecate’s alternative.

It also earned Tecate some marketing props, like in the tweet below from the marketing program at San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies.