Last night in the US, during the national broadcast of game seven of the World Series, a Scotch whisky brand ran a commercial entirely in Spanish.
Viewers were confused for a moment:
But that was the whole point.
In the US, Buchanan’s Whisky, owned by liquor giant Diageo, only advertises to Latinos. It wanted to be disruptive and speak to the demographic in way that recognized them as part of mainstream American culture.
“Somos una fuerza innegable y nada nos va detener,” said the ad, which featured reggaeton artist J Balvin, who performs only in Spanish. “Es nuestro momento.” (In English, “we are an undeniable force and nothing will stop us. It’s our moment.”)
“It was a very conscious and deliberate effort to make a statement with the brand about Latinos and their contributions to the country,” said Giovanni Villamar, managing director at Anomaly, the advertising agency that created the campaign. “The World Series seemed like the perfect place.”
Baseball—considered “America’s favorite pastime”—has a big following among US Hispanics. Nearly 30% of the players in Major League Baseball are Latino. And Chicago, home of new World Series champions, has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country.
The commercial made a statement that the Spanish language doesn’t need to be confined to networks like Telemundo and Univision.
“Latin culture always tends to be relegated to Hispanic media,” said Villamar. ”But this is a culture and demographic that is not separate from American culture.”
Latin America has become a significant market for Scotch whisky as its middle-class populations have grown. Buchanan’s Whisky is particularly popular in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, Villamar said.
US Hispanics have developed a similar affinity for it. The brand’s US sales rose 20% during 2015, according to Diageo’s August annual report (pdf), making it the fastest-growing liquor brand in the company’s US liquor cabinet, which includes Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum, and others. Buchanan’s is targeting the US Hispanic male population, which skews younger, as traditional Scotch drinkers—older white men—are aging.
The Buchanan’s campaign, called “Es nuestro momento,” first aired on CNN during the second US presidential debate on Oct. 9, and ran again during game six of the World Series on Fox. Buchanan’s also aired the ads during the Spanish-language broadcasts of those events on Telemundo and Fox Desportes, respectively, as well as during other programming.