Mexico’s Moment

Mexico boasts a rich tradition of arts, culture, and gastronomy that is loved and respected worldwide. But the country has long been overlooked as a source of talent for the advertising industry and, even worse, as a dynamic and diverse consumer market.

But a confluence of events seems to be driving Mexico to become a bigger and bigger player in the advertising industry and as a target audience for global marketing opportunities.

On the talent side, more agencies are opening offices in Mexico, including Gut, Isla, Wieden + Kennedy, We Believers, Circus Marketing/Media Monks and David. They join global agencies, such as Ogilvy, Dentsu, VML, DDB, McCann and MullenLowe, whose Mexican offices have produced world-class creative work for years.

When Gut, one of the hottest young creative shops, opened Gut Mexico City in 2021, its fifth global office, the agency wrote on its social channels: “Gut Mexico City has always been a dream. A key creative city that would bridge Gut from North to South.” Mexican agencies – independents, affiliates of global agencies and local agencies — won more Cannes Lions in 2023 than in any previous year.

But Mexico offers a growing number of advantages as an opportunity for global ad agencies. First, Mexico City has enjoyed a surge in post-pandemic popularity with digital nomads from around the world and, in particular, workers from the US. This has raised awareness of Mexico City as a global hub of commerce equal to Miami, São Paulo and Buenos Aires ; in addition, more people are staying and building businesses here. That trend includes large numbers of American expats that were nomads before that moniker was coined during the pandemic. Ex-pats and nomads tend to settle in cities that offer great cultural resources, a relatively comfortable standard of living and an energetic, dynamic personality conducive to commercial development. Mexico City is one of the next crucial meccas for young, educated, entrepreneurial talent.

But Mexico becomes even more critical in the context of global business and political strategy. Most critically, the U.S. is increasingly reliant on Mexico as a trusted trading partner. Mexico will continue to benefit from the relocation of manufacturing from Asia to North America thanks to U.S. corporate efforts to de-risk supply chains that began during the pandemic and has become institutionalized at the corporate and political level. That trend stretches across business categories. In 2023, Tesla delayed a planned expansion of its Shanghai manufacturing facility and announced a new $15 billion plant in northern Mexico. Multinationals such as Walmart, Amazon, Samsung, Nissan and Home Depot are shifting production from Asia to Mexico.

Both U.S. and international businesses are enticed by Mexico’s manufacturing-based economy and free trade agreements with the United States, Canada, Japan, the EU and Latin American countries. Direct foreign investment in Mexico has increased exponentially since 2020.

The proof of this trend, known as “nearshoring,” is shown by Mexico becoming the top U.S. trading partner in 2023. Mexico has benefited by reducing their exposure to Asian markets and taking advantage of U.S. investment under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and the Chips and Science Act. Data from Mexico’s central bank said nearshoring was most prevalent in the country’s transportation equipment and auto parts, electronics, machinery and equipment, furniture, household appliances and medical devices sectors.

These macroeconomic headwinds only grow the case for Mexico and its citizens, at home and living in the U.S., as an important consumer market for U.S. ad agencies and their clients. According to the research firm Hispanic MacroMonitor, Mexican households in the U.S.  represent the largest share — 61% — of Hispanic households. And every available metric points to Hispanic households as the fastest growing segment of the United States population. Despite tensions between the U.S. and Mexico over border issues, there is wide bipartisan support for Mexico’s increased importance as a trading and cultural partner.

Examples of how Mexico has continued to become more central to the U.S. marketplace, and to U.S. cultural trends, include the success of Modelo Especial, the Mexican lager that has become the top-selling beer brand in America. Adam & Eve’s “Avocados From Mexico” TV commercial rated highest in positive sentiment of any 2023 Super Bowl campaign. Social Media Mexico and IAB Connecta are important dates on marketers’ calendars now. Liga MX, the most watched soccer league in the U.S., helps brands engage with a large and growing audience. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are expanding international markets, including Mexico. Streaming services are offering North American sports leagues to Mexican audiences.

If your agency is not recruiting Mexican creative talent, exposing your clients to Mexican and Chicano consumer populations, and analyzing the demographic trends that provide future opportunities, you are falling behind the curve.

By Sasha Martens