Written by Norma Orcí, agency co-founder
Among the many gifts immigrant cultures have brought to America is one of Mexico’s contributions, the Día del los Muertos tradition of remembering, honoring and celebrating loved ones who have passed.
It’s also a day we celebrate the Orci company’s anniversary.
How Dia de los Muertos became the American tradition of Day of the Dead tells the story of the shift in Hispanic marketing from a small in-language side thought by most companies, to Latinx marketing where the best brands understand the deep cultural influence Hispanics have across all audiences.
When we opened Orci advertising in 1986, Día de los Muertos was a little known holiday, Orci was a still-unknown ad agency, there was no such thing as the Hispanic marketing industry, and Latinos were practically invisible in the national media.
Today, as we celebrate our agency’s 34th anniversary, we are glad to report that all this has changed. Dramatically, and for the better.
The Hispanic ad industry has helped lead corporate America to a multicultural focus that acknowledges today’s demographic reality. Latinos have come out of obscurity, have integrated into the general culture and are setting exciting national trends in music, food and fashion. Orci is now recognized as an industry leader for our work with many of America’s top-rated companies, helping them harness the power of cultural insights and identity to move audiences.
This ability to touch the heart of customers is seen in the difference between Día de los Muertos and Halloween. Halloween is focused on ghouls and candy, fun and games, and creates a sales opportunity. Dia de Los Muertos shares some similar themes, and includes a more personal focus: It is a time to honor loved ones who have gone before us, but continue to enrich our lives. Brands that recognize the emotional aspect of this celebration can unlock a chance to connect with people in a more meaningful and impactful way. Orci has always understood that by combining connection to the heart with the exuberance of American celebrations, brands can lift their game and stand out.
Today, Día de Los Muertos is embraced by all. Face painting is now a Thing, Mattel has released two Día de Los Muertos Barbies, Disney made “Coco,” a blockbuster movie that became an instant classic. And the holiday is seen not only as a great party opportunity, but also as a personal celebration of our roots, our ancestors, and our loved ones who are gone, but not forgotten.
The Día de Los Muertos celebration is Mexico’s gift to our fellow Americans. And given the great diversity in our nation’s multicultural reality, there are myriad other gifts for all of us to discover, enjoy and embrace in our New America.