Jose Cuervo Bets on 'Cuervo Games' for Sales Boost

With Series of Large-Scale Events, Brand Also Aims to Score Points in Social Media

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Competitors attempt to climb a 'Mayan' pyramid while tequila casks are hurled at them at a dry run of the 'Cuervo Games' in Orlando on March 6.
Competitors attempt to climb a 'Mayan' pyramid while tequila casks are hurled at them at a dry run of the 'Cuervo Games' in Orlando on March 6.
CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Diageo's Jose Cuervo brand is betting that the oh-so-trendy fields of experiential and social-media marketing can directly boost the oldest metric of all: sales.

The No. 1 tequila brand is ramping up a series of large-scale events it calls the "Cuervo Games," which will take place in 20 cities across the country in advance of a Las Vegas-based October championship. The events will feature elaborate obstacle courses that shouldn't be undertaken after consuming a few Cuervos, such as the "Agave Airwalk" in which competitors have to collect Agave leaves while suspended 30 feet in the air, and the "Barrell Roll" in which they have to climb a "Mayan" pyramid while tequila casks are hurled at them.

Teams register for the competition via Cuervo's Facebook page. The squads who drum up the most online votes get a shot to earn a trip to the finals. (There's also a limited number of same-day "walk-on" slots.)

But the bulk of the spread-the-word effort is centered on 10,000 Cuervo-managed "Cuervo Games"-themed bar nights around the country, which is intended to boost the brand's sales along with its social-media profile.

The Games got something of a dry run in Orlando on March 6, where, with scant promotion, the effort drew 57 teams and 8,000 Facebook fans. While the scale of the effort did block local traffic, Diageo executives said they were pleased with the results.

Paul Clarke, Cuervo's brand director, said the goal of the promotion (other than selling more tequila, of course) is to bring the brand's "Live Legendary" tagline to life. Cuervo has long positioned itself as a brand for adventurous consumers. "The brand stands for epic experiences and we haven't done anything on that scale for awhile," he said. "We want to create incredible experiences that are fun, but also have a certain level of intensity."

The games will be live-streamed online at Justin.TV.

The Cuervo Games are the first major project for the brand from its new agency, MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

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