- PepsiCo's Tostitos brand of tortilla chips will host free livestreamed salsa dancing classes in a Cinco de Mayo campaign that raises money for COVID-19 relief. The "Salsa for Cinco" classes will appear on the Instagram Live page of actor and entertainment reporter Mario Lopez at 7 p.m. EDT on May 5, per an announcement.
- Lopez and his wife Courtney, who appeared with him in the VH1 reality show "Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby," are directing the dance classes while raising money for UnidosUS. The nonprofit group seeks to raise awareness about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the Latino community.
- Tostitos is donating $100,000 to the program and will pay an additional $5, up to $100,000, for every person who joins the livestream on Instagram. The money will go to 125 low-income Latino families struggling with household expenses.
While this year's Tostitos campaign for Cinco de Mayo has a whimsical element with its livestreamed "Salsa for Cinco" dance classes, the promotion has a more serious tone in highlighting the plight of Latinos during the coronavirus pandemic. As Tostitos points out, the health crisis has had a disproportionately negative effect on the Hispanic community, with 8 million people working in industries that have borne the brunt of business lockdowns, including restaurants, hotels and other services. Almost half (49%) of Latinos have taken a pay cut or lost a job because of COVID-19, compared with only 33% of the general population, per Pew Economic Policy Institute data cited by Tostitos.
The Tostitos campaign is another sign of how the pandemic has disrupted the marketing for snack brands, particularly on occasions like Cinco de Mayo that typically bring people together. In the past, Cinco de Mayo has led to higher consumer spending on tortilla chips, taco shells, fajita sauce, beer and other ingredients for Mexican food, according to market researcher Nielsen. With many people stuck at home during the pandemic, it's less likely that people will shop for Cinco de Mayo parties.
By raising money for people facing financial hardship, Tostitos is adjusting its marketing to match the current public mood. Eighty-four percent of consumers want to see brands contribute to society and 80% want brands to show empathy, per a recent Morning Consult survey of 2,200 U.S. adults. That sentiment has led to a 41% surge in cause-related marketing, the Interactive Advertising Bureau found in a recent survey of advertising executives. Like Tostitos, restaurant chains Taco Bell and Chipotle Mexican Grill also adjusted their Cinco de Mayo campaigns during the pandemic.
Sponsoring livestreams that raise money for coronavirus-related causes has quickly become a key marketing tactic during the pandemic. Tostitos sister brand Pepsi, Buffalo Wild Wings and Verizon are among the brands that have sponsored livestreams in recent weeks.
Tostitos' Cinco de Mayo effort arrives on the heels of PepsiCo's statement earlier this week that it will cut "nonessential" marketing while focusing its efforts on areas where it is seeing opportunities during the pandemic, including snacks, Quaker oats and e-commerce.