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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Jose Cuervo- Marg Shakeup

Finalist in Call to Action, Gamification


For decades, Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas has been the #1 prepared cocktail brand in the U.S. But as new brands flooded the market, Cuervo’s leadership weakened.Consumers were 18x more likely to post about trendy brands like High Noon than they were to post about Cuervo.

 We needed to drive fresh relevance for Cuervo. Our specific goals were:

1. Make Cuervo Margaritas culturally salient. Drive earned media coverage to get on our audience’s radar. 


2. Get people to talk about Cuervo Margaritas. Drive social conversation to help make the brand more socially relevant.

3. Grow a long-term audience for Cuervo Margaritas. Drive sign-ups for Cuervo’s CRM to give us an easy way to reach these margarita lovers in the future.

Strategy and Execution

New flavors were the #1 driver of trial in the ready to drink (RTD) category, and the tried-and-true RTD playbook was to make an eye-candy video touting delicious new flavors. But competitors like White Claw were increasing their ad spend by 600% to stay ahead. Cuervo had no chance of breaking through with that approach. 

We turned to culture for inspiration. We saw people weren’t just drinking interesting new cocktails. They were reading about them, watching tutorials, and honing their mixology skills. People didn’t just want to sip a new margarita flavor, they wanted to craft it.

Our idea: Cuervo Marg Shake-Up. A playful virtual mixology experience. A contest to find (and make) the next on-shelf flavor of Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas. And a campaign that got people talking about Cuervo as they showed off their cocktail creations. 

We seeded Marg Shake-Up with influential fans and trade gatekeepers, offering them a chance to choose the ingredients at our virtual cocktail-making station.

Then, we launched the experience with a mouthwatering video that challenged marg lovers to create a flavor of their own. This launch was met with a flurry of PR coverage highlighting the chance to create the next Jose Cuervo Authentic Margarita flavor.

The Marg Shake-Up site let visitors create margaritas using a huge range of interesting ingredients. After christening their cocktails with a unique name and wildcard ingredient, visitors were invited to share their creations on social. 

Next came a voting phase, where margarita lovers selected their favorites. After three months of consumer engagement, a winning marg was crowned: Deron’s Tropical Paradise Margarita. And as the garnish on top of this sweet margarita contest, we got to cut a $100,000 check to Deron, a veteran who is using those winnings to pay for his wedding.


Cuervo Marg Shake-Up was a hit, smashing every goal we laid out:

1. Make Cuervo Margaritas culturally salient. We earned 25M earned impressions across 61 publications, with 100% feature coverage overall.

2. Get people to talk about Cuervo Margaritas. This contest drove a historic spike in social relevance for Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas. During the contest, 93% of social conversation about Cuervo margs were about the contest specifically. We saw 1.76k posts about the contest, yielding 36k+ impressions.

3. Grow a long-term audience for Cuervo Margaritas. Over 45,000 people entered Cuervo Marg Shake-Up, helping us grow Cuervo’s CRM list by over 24,000 subscribers. Previous contests from Cuervo of the same duration had garnered an average of 1,785 entries, meaning we beat our previous entry benchmarks 25x over. 

This wasn’t just a record-breaking campaign for the brand, it was such a fan favorite that Cuervo’s followers are already calling for another round. Lucky for them, we’ll be bringing back the Cuervo Marg Shake-Up in 2023. Cheers to the campaign that got Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas back on people’s lips.


Video for Jose Cuervo- Marg Shakeup

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Mekanism, Jose Cuervo


Entry Credits