Cinco de Mayo Email Strategy

Cinco de Mayo is annual celebration of Mexican culture.

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Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for the Fifth of May) celebrates the Mexican Army’s unexpected victory over the invading French Army on May 5, 1862. Aside from defeating what had been considered the best army in the world, Mexico’s victory prevented France from establishing a base it could use to aid the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War.

Since then, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into an annual celebration of Mexican culture.

Many brands have the holiday on their email marketing calendar. Below, you can find examples of some great Cinco de Mayo emails to use as inspiration for your own Cinco de Mayo campaigns.

Cinco de Mayo Email Examples

Experiment with colors

Whenever Cinco de Mayo rolls around, inboxes overflow with vibrant colors, piñatas, sombreros, and maracas. So much so that all the Cinco de Mayo emails your subscribers get start to look alike. Want to stand out? Go dark and elegant, like this email from the high-end home furnishings dealer promoting its new Mexican restaurant as the perfect place to celebrate the special day.

Not everyone has a relevant product or product launch they can tie into the holiday. If that’s the case for you, consider simply wishing your recipients a Happy Cinco de Mayo with a non-cliché email.

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Play with fonts and words

Aerie proves you don’t need colorful images to create a funky email. The brand combines different fonts – including an animated one – and uses playful copy to turn its email into a party.

From “cinco saves, chicas to the “K Gracias Bye,” line that’s a play on “KTHXBYE,” the design is entirely focused on the message, with call-to-actions dispersed throughout the copy.

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Bright, fun and animated

The piñata theme is common for Cinco de Mayo emails, but you can rise above the pack by making it deliver your offer, as this Kidpass email shows. We like the color scheme — bright but in keeping with the brand’s official color palette — and the way the animated piñata bursts open so that the offer falls right on top of the call to action. It’s simple and effective.

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Focus on the great food

If your customers are all about the food of Cinco de Mayo, you can have some edible fun with the idea. That’s what Postmates does with this email, which looks like a grown-up version of the kids’ game Chutes and Ladders. But it’s an effective ploy because it take the email reader all the way down to the offer — the easy-to-remember code guacnroll.

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High-end margaritas? Yes, please.

A thoughtful rendition saves this Happy Cinco de Mayo email from repeating the usual clichés about margaritas and fiestas. The fiery color palette and recipe for a high-end margarita appeals to Bloomingdale’s younger, status-conscious shoppers. Also, note the absence of an offer or any kind of promo other than the navigation tab. As a high-frequency emailer, Bloomingdale’s can afford to dedicate one of its many emails solely to providing value.

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More about those chips 'n' guac

We picked this email from Weight Watchers because it addresses a concern that’s relevant to its email list: how many points a serving of chips and salsa would be according to the Weight Watchers’ point system.

We also liked the bold color palette and the way the countdown clock timer stands out.

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Cinco de Mayo Email Marketing Ideas

Below you’ll find three strategies worth keeping in mind when brainstorming Cinco de Mayo marketing ideas.

Put the brakes on stereotyping

Tacos, tequila, sarapes, sombreros, maracas and margaritas … These might say “Cinco de Mayo” to you, but chances are you aren’t Mexican, Hispanic or Latino.

Co-opting a Mexican day of celebration to promote your brand can be a tricky process. You want to have fun without offending your Mexican-American customers or getting vilified for cultural tone-deafness on social media.

First, if the phrase “Cinco de Drinko” or any other Spanglish words appear anywhere in your Cinco de Mayo emails, take them out right now. No discussion there. Beyond that, proceed carefully.

Feel free to use the bright colors associated with the Mexican flag (green, white and red) or with Mexican art (primary and red-based hues). Incorporate elements of Mexican culture that feel appropriate for your brand and products.

Run any Spanish phrases past a third party before incorporating them in your email copy – preferably a native speaker or someone who knows Mexican culture well enough to detect any accidentally offensive phrases.

Finally, use the sniff test. If you find yourself reaching hard for a theme, it’s often better to move on. You don’t need to fall back on the inoffensive-but-ineffective “Take 20% off in honor of Cinco de Mayo.” Just imagine how it would look if someone who doesn’t share your own cultural heritage were to use caricatures of it to sell shoes.

Add color

As we note above, color is a major element of Mexican art and culture. The Cinco de Mayo emails we showcase above are drenched in vivid colors. A colorful palette will help your emails stand out from the emails you normally send and grab the attention of your email list.

Use animations

Another trend we notice in Cinco de Mayo email marketing — more imaginative use of animation than for other holidays. And not just one jiggling little icon either. We’ve seen lots of countdown clocks — appropriate given how short the email window is for Cinco messaging — plus animated hero images.