Intelligence Applied Emerging markets
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From the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521, Mexico
has evolved into a federation comprising thirty-one states and a
federal district, Mexico City. The country has grown to become
the tenth largest oil producer in the world, the largest silver
producer globally and its economy is predicted by Goldman
Sachs to become the world’s fifth largest by 2050.
It is no coincidence, then, that Mexico represents the ‘M’ in
the acronym ‘MINT’. Together with Indonesia, Nigeria and
Turkey, the North American nation forms part of a group of
emerging markets renowned for exceptional growth and
However, despite its prosperity, Mexico is a country dogged
by issues surrounding obesity. In response to official figures
revealing that 70 per cent of adults and 30 per cent of children
in Mexico are obese or overweight, the government has
launched a campaign targeted at leading FMCG brands.
In the cities, for example, international brands such as Coca
Cola, Bimbo, Danone and Nestlé are very well known and widely
consumed. However, marketing efforts were hit earlier this
year by a government restriction on television advertising for
high-calorie food and soft drinks. This significantly limited the
volume and impact of adverts for FMCG brands in this category,
prompting a rethink in strategy and an exploration of other
forms of marketing.
The government has also increased tax on unhealthy snack foods,
forcing brands to change the ingredients of certain products in
order to comply with the new regulations. As a result, there is a
growing market for companies producing diet products which
avoid the increased taxes.
However, obesity is not the only factor for brands to consider.
Challenger brands looking to establish a presence in Mexico must
be mindful of the important role of family values. TV icons and
Brands to take the initiative in
Mexican battle with obesity
Mexico has grown to become the tenth
largest oil producer in the world, the
largest silver producer globally and
its economy is predicted by Goldman
Sachs to become the world’s fifth
largest by 2050. However, despite its
prosperity, it is a country dogged by
issues surrounding obesity.
At almost two million square kilometres, Mexico is the fifth
largest country in the Americas by area and the 13th largest
independent nation in the world. Its estimated population of
over 113 million also makes it the most populous Spanish-
speaking territory on the planet.
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Brands to take the initiative in Mexican battle with obesity
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celebrities are regularly seen in adverts and public appearances
surrounded by family, with brands using them as role models to
portray the importance of family life.
That being said, the dynamic of families in Mexico is changing.
Divorce rates have started to go up over the last 10 years, although
they are still around 15 per cent, which is very low in comparison
with rates in Europe and the US. Women are increasingly becoming
senior figures in the business world, leading to double income
families and a change in the role of men and women at home.
This mirrors the role of women in many traditional families in
Mexico, where it is often they women who decide where the
family budget is spent. Despite the perceptions of the country as
having ‘macho’ values, brands must not be wedded to traditional
notions of the Mexican family. They should look to target mothers
who are most likely to be buying products for their families.
Mexico is a traditionalist country, mainly based on the Catholic
and indigenous culture. This tradition is shown in several Mexican
celebrations, like the Day of the Dead; a mixture of the Catholic
“Day of all saints” and the cult of death of the ancient indigenous
cultures. As a result, many Mexican brands tie their advertising
into local and religious festivals and events.
For example, the Day of the Dead is a focus for Jose Cuervo’s
‘Tradicional’ tequila brand. While this may seem an unlikely
partnership, the marketing is based on honouring the deceased
using their favourite foods and beverages. Being attuned to
cultural idiosyncrasies and associating themselves with popular
events can help international brands gain the widespread
notoriety needed for a stronger market position.
Alcohol in general is a major source of international advertising,
particularly beer brands such as Corona, Victoria and Tecate. The
most successful advertising and social media campaigns in Mexico
are those that aim to amuse consumers, using humour to create
affinity with the brand.
There is a clear opportunity for international brands to target the
younger generation who are more impressionable and increasingly
open to a greater choice of products. This is particularly true of
challenger brands that should be looking to capitalise on Mexico’s
status as a fast-growing MINT country. Gaining popularity with
Mexico’s youth population could prove to be very lucrative in the
Jorge Vargas is CEO of TNS Mexico.
Since his appointment in 2012, Jorge
has used his extensive experience to help
clients make better decisions and develop
expertise within the Mexican business.
For more information about TNS Mexico,
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