Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, but for certain fans, it’s not always the most accessible. The country consists of numerous indigenous communities, who largely rely on radio to hear national matches. Those broadcasts are done exclusively in Spanish—yet there are 68 different native languages spoken in the country. So Corona, in a move to uphold its reputation as a true Mexican brand, stepped up to support all the country’s soccer fans with this unusual “recruitment” idea.
The campaign from We Believers scoured the country for people who spoke various indigenous languages to become “native sportscasters” and bring soccer matches to fans in their original tongues such as Maya, Zapoteca, Mixe and Nahuatl. Corona put the call out on local radio and held casting calls in remote regions of Mexico.
“The response to the casting call was huge,” said Gustavo Lauria, founder and chief creative officer of We Believers. About 850 people came to try out and “we were surprised by their willingness to become narrators, although not all had what it takes. People from all backgrounds came and most of them openly shared with us how meaningful it was to have the opportunity to represent their communities with their voices.”
Those who ultimately won the gigs put tremendous effort into the job, Lauria said. “One of them had never traveled in an airplane or left her community during her entire life,” he said. “She was in tears when she entered for the first time in the Azteca stadium.”
Yet another was a former school teacher who also wrote books to teach others about his language. “Keeping their culture alive is his biggest passion and he was extremely thankful for this opportunity,” Lauria said.
The campaign wasn’t without its snafus. “We almost lost one of the winners the day of the trip to the city,” Lauria said. “There is no cellphone signal in the area where he lives, and we couldn’t find each other for more than two hours.”
The agency team also feared “that being at the stadium, with the crowds, the microphones, narrating for millions of people live would be intimidating [for the sportscasters],” Lauria said. Ultimately, however, “they were so eager and proud about being the voices of their people that they narrated the games as if they were professional broadcasters.”
The inclusivity of the campaign was meaningful to the community, but it was also key to the brand’s business as well. For Corona Mexico parent AB InBev, regions with indigenous communities in Mexico represent 21% of sales.
This isn't the first time Corona and We Believers came up with an innovative way to bring football to fans. Previously, during the pandemic, when matches were put on hold, the brand and agency trolled archives of Mexico's most popular teams to create a "Match of Ages" spanning 70 years.