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How Victoria’s 4th Annual Day of the Dead Film United People and Teams

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Media.Monks

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For many years, Cerveza Victoria has ignited Mexican culture by showcasing its traditions and mythology—setting a universal example on how to build on, elevate and create cultural significance. Throughout this journey, we’ve been there with Ogilvy Mexico to breathe new life into Day of the Dead, translating an ancient holiday into the language of this age’s digital, modern audiences.

Today, Cerveza Victoria’s Day of the Dead campaign is one of the most anticipated ones in Mexico—as much for the audience as for those bringing it to life. “After four annual campaigns, this has really turned into an epic series,” says Maarten Sündermann, our Head of Film Craft & Directors. “The last campaign was viewed by over 50 million people and grew into something enormous."

The million organic views online serve as a reflection of how branded content can actually build and impact culture. But with each new edition comes increased expectations and new consumer behaviors to take into account, which makes providing a fresh, relevant experience for audiences a bit more challenging every year. The recipe for success, however, is not in what we do; rather, in how we do it.

The Benefits of the Integrated, Multilocal Approach 

From the unforgettable “Xibalba” to this year’s heartfelt “Cempasúchil: The Taste of Reunion,” this series of films takes center stage at the brand’s annual Day of the Dead campaign. This time, the script was built on real comments that people left on Cerveza Victoria’s social channels throughout the years—which became the basis of a deeply touching film reimagining people’s reunion with their late loved ones. “This was a curation of real thoughts that took eight months of research to bring together,” says Sündermann. “It’s a truly unique approach and a great way to accomplish our goal of authentically showcasing Mexico's rich culture and heritage.”

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In addition to the three-minute film, which was directed by the renowned Salomon Ligthelm, our team worked hand in hand with the brand and Ogilvy Mexico to craft two 60-second pieces for both the big screen and TV, fit-for-format content for various digital channels, and more. “In today’s virtualized world, it’s imperative that we complement film with digital-first content that brings a new layer to the experience,” says Mauricio Gaya, Media.Monks Creative Director. “We have to think beyond a single piece or format, and do so before the preproduction stage, because each element should be tailored to the platform it’s intended for.”

Even when brands can fully grasp the importance of moving beyond the big idea approach and producing different forms of content, the challenge usually lies in mastering such a wide variety of formats. “Having an integrated team was essential for us to deliver at speed,” explains Gaya. Add to that the flexibility and agility of our multilocal setup, and production at scale becomes much more efficient. “While our creators in Mexico City shot and edited the hero film, the Amsterdam team worked on post-production, and so on. There was a lot of collaboration and coordination between the Film.Monks, and Salomon, of course, in this process.”

Among the many benefits that integrated, multilocal production offers, rapid turnaround times and diversity of thought are some of the most valuable. This setup can provide brands with a multi-disciplinary talent studio where everything happens under the same (figurative) roof, which translates into more efficient results. In that regard, having different time zones also proved to be highly beneficial for the team, as it enabled them to produce almost around the clock. “It was incredible to wake up to new ideas and content from the team in Amsterdam, and vice-versa,” says Gaya.

A Taste for the Unexpected

In addition to enabling the production of fit-for-format content for a myriad of platforms, an integrated production team is key to fitting all the puzzle pieces together. Although each element must be tailored to its specific channel, they are all part of an ecosystem that should feel seamlessly connected in its consistency. “Banners, static images, Instagram stories—every element complements the other, and they all come together to tell one powerful story,” explains Adrián Pastrana, Media.Monks Executive Producer.

Victoria cerveza beer posters branded for the day of the dead

The team’s symbiosis in the exploration of channels also led to the discovery of new formats. One example of this is a series of posters featuring original designs, which grew from their desire to experiment with various assets—even when these weren’t part of the original plan. “In the end, we had so many experts working on this that they would keep coming up with new deliverables and ideas that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise,” says Pastrana.

In a similar vein, the cross-collaboration of specialists can open the doors for brands to get more ambitious and introduce technologies that require a higher level of expertise. While many shy away from VFX, for instance, our post-production team managed all special effects as well as the film’s original score.

Brewing Up Passion as the Driving Force

Naturally, the Day of the Dead campaign is known for stirring the passion of our creatives, which significantly contributes to the exploration of new formats. As Gaya puts it, “Everyone wants to be part of this project because they already know that it will expand its reaches beyond borders and cultures. And that speaks to both the outstanding production muscle behind these films and their power to resonate with people everywhere.”

And because the film speaks to our universal human experience, there’s no such thing as insurmountable cultural barriers. If anything, having a multilocal team has added new perspectives and wider reach to the cultural impact of Cerveza Victoria’s Day of the Dead campaign, which has earned media coverage in multiple languages and international outlets. 

Ultimately, it’s passion that forges ties between members of a team, as well as the rewarding experience of making a great project come to life. When experts from different disciplines, formats and regions work together through an integrated production framework, you can better amplify brand relevance and enjoy the sort of speed-to-market and personalization that will keep the audience engaged—time and time again.

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