decoder | Marcela García

Cinco de Mayo: Don’t reduce Mexican culture to tired stereotypes

Expect the usual free margaritas and tequila on Cinco de Mayo, but the appropriated holiday also brings a high potential for embarrassment and public shaming for brands and companies. Which is why Michael Calienes, a local ad executive, came up with a hashtag to keep an eye on those who “relegate an entire culture to a one-dimensional stereotype,” as he explains. Calienes, who is Cuban American and the director of Hispanic Marketing at MMB, came up with #CincoDeFallo – a word play on “Cinco de Fail” – last year while observing the pitfalls of corporate America when trying to be Hispanic-relevant. It almost always is a careless and costly exercise to hastily reach out to Latino consumers one day of the year, as the #CincoDeFallo compilation shows below. (And in case you’re still wondering what Cinco de Mayo really is, here’s my 2006 take on it.)

Marcela García is a Globe editorial writer. Follow her on Twitter: @marcela_elisa.



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