By Kait Shea

Consumers could sample snow cones topped with Exotico’s Blanco varietal.

With its sights set on millennials and their penchant for all things handcrafted, Exotico Tequila hit Hispanic food festivals across the U.S. with a playful activation fueled by product samples the demographic couldn’t resist: boozy snow cones. From mid-August to mid-September, the brand, whose spirits are crafted in and imported from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, brought its heritage to life at festivals in San Diego, Santa Cruz, Charlotte, Chicago and Houston, along with smaller activations in grocery and liquor stores in those markets. In addition to the snow cone cocktail samples, Exotico engaged consumers with carnival games, photo ops and giveaways.

Equipped with a custom sampling cart and two vibrant, side-by-side tents, Exotico dished out free snow cones infused with its Blanco varietal, an un-aged, 100 percent blue agave tequila that was right up its target consumer’s alley. In addition to boosting awareness, the brand’s goal was to differentiate itself by offering festivalgoers an unconventional sampling experience.

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“We thought this would be a fun way to share the spirit in a different way than just a straight pour,” says Aimee Loyet, assistant brand manager at Luxco, Exotico’s parent brand. “People walking around with a really cool shaved ice cocktail at festivals gets recognition, and it drove traffic to the booth.”

Depending on the market, Exotico offered games themed around a colorful sugar skull, the brand’s logo and a traditional Mexican symbol associated with the Day of the Dead. One was a ring toss-style game. The other was a “knock ‘em down” skull game similar to those found at carnivals. Winners received branded swag, which changed depending on the market, and included items like hats, tees, tote bags and sunglasses.

When consumers weren’t enjoying their boozy snow cones or participating in games, they could snap photos with fun props like mini sombreros and signs bearing phrases like “Tequila made me do it.” The brand encouraged social sharing using #MakeItExotico.

“Live events are always a great way to interact with consumers directly and hear their feedback and also provide them with an opportunity to interact with the brand,” says Loyet. “It’s also an opportunity to show love to some different markets that either are great tequila markets or markets we’re trying to develop and grow, and show support for the consumers and our distributor partners in those areas.” Agency: Switch, St. Louis.

Scenes from Exotico’s food festival activations: