Mexico-based Jose Cuervo, is the first tequila brand to be a direct advertiser of the UFC with spots featuring UFC fighters Kevin Holland, a Cuervo ambassador, and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
In the ad, released last month, Holland and Thompson are in the midst of a fight as they discuss an “after party” following the bout; both decide to drink Cuevo Tradicional Cristalino. This new campaign marks the UFC’s 30th anniversary.
We spoke with Lander Otegui, senior vp of marketing at Proximo Spirits, home of Jose Cuervo, and Brit Santypal, UFC’s vp global partnerships activation, about TV advertising and why the sport is winning over Hispanic fans, especially after the partnership with Cuervo’s athlete ambassador Brandon Moreno, who was the first Mexican-born UFC champion.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
What motivated Jose Cuervo to get involved with a brand like the UFC?
Otegui: As a brand, we’re always seeking out opportunities where our tequila can kickstart friendships and bring people together. We recognized the camaraderie of UFC’s fan culture and saw it as a natural connector between our two brands. Within UFC, we see camaraderie shine through not only by the way fans come together to view fights, but also how the fighters come together outside the Octagon. Plus, we know a Cuervo Cristalino cocktail is the perfect way for fans to bring high energy to a UFC fight viewing.
Why is the UFC’s partnership with a product like Jose Cuervo tequila so notable?
Santypal: Cuervo, as a best-in-class brand and UFC’s first-ever official tequila partner, has taken the energy and excitement of our events to the next level, by successfully activating and being present during key UFC moments since the start of our partnership in 2021. In addition, our collaboration has provided multiple unique and engaging partnered content that deeply connects with both UFC and Jose Cuervo consumers and has increased brand exposure for both parties, while giving UFC the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
What was the experience like working with UFC fighters Kevin Holland, Cuervo ambassador, and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson?
Otegui: It has been a pleasure working with Kevin Holland as a Cuervo ambassador in recent years. His Grapple ad involvement wasn’t his first ad with Cuervo–just last year Kevin was featured in our Cinco de Mayo campaign “Tip it Forward”, where we encouraged consumers to show support to bartenders over the holiday. Since Kevin and Stephen just fought each other in December during a UFC Fight Night, it was great to see the ad embody their true friendship and friendly competition outside of the Octagon.
How does this fit into Cuervo’s overall strategy with the UFC?
Otegui: Our strategy is all about meeting UFC fans where they are — whether it’s at a fan experience ahead of a fight or on social media within content from their favorite fighters. In addition to our 360 digital and paid media strategy, we also prioritize in-person activations, such as supporting UFC fan fests and International Fight Week events. Another integral aspect of our partnership is our athlete ambassador program, where we work closely with fighters like Brandon Moreno and Kevin Holland to engage our fans, either through various forms of media, such as commercials or social content, but also by interacting directly with UFC super fans ahead of fights or through meet and greets in cities across the country.
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