“Let’s Make America Great Again.”
The words appear on the screen with the faint sounds of a crowd shouting, “Build a wall,” in the background. It’s a slogan and a chant that have become so familiar and synonymous with the nation’s president that it is hardly surprising to see them on a television commercial.
But then the ad takes a surprising turn.
“Great again?” a voice on the commercial asks, before switching to Spanish. “Stop using our name to generate divisions. That’s not what we are.”
The Corona beer ad, released late last month, touched on a long-running point of contention between the United States and the countries with which it shares the hemisphere. For the majority of those living south of the U.S. border, the word “America” does not refer to a country with 50 states, but to the entire continent, “a land with a billion people,” as the commercial states.
With that interpretation, Trump’s phrase “America First” would appear at first glance to be a continental unifier. That is, if it hadn’t become associated with the same president whose administration has ordered the construction of a border wall and insisted that Mexico pay for it, possibly through a U.S. tax on imports.
As a result of Trump’s rhetoric and policies, the America-centric slogans strike feelings of both irony and resentment among many Latin Americans who do not feel the president is promoting the prosperity of the entire continent he so often names.
The Corona ad, which went viral only hours after it dropped, displays colorful, aerial views of cities, beaches and rivers — from Brazil to Peru to Mexico to the North Pole. It provides brief glimpses into the heart and soul of Latin America: the dancing, the music, the history, the indigenous heritage, the food.
“We are the continent that touches both poles, we are the navel of the world, and also its lungs,” the voice says. “We have hands that endure effort and feet that make soccer the most beautiful dance. We are a roaring continent.”
The commercial’s purpose is made clear in its ending: To show the world, and its leaders, why the continent as a whole is already great.
“We are passion, we are all, we are 35 states united today, under one coat of arms,” the ad says. “Because we are all Americans. That’s why America has always been great.”
The ad is part of Corona’s ongoing campaign called Desfronteriza, which translates roughly to “unborder yourself” and joins a growing list of Mexican companies that have created advertisements with political statements in response to Trump’s rhetoric or policies.
Tecate, another Mexican beer brand, released an ad in September in which a voice declares, “The time has come for a wall, a tremendous wall. The best wall. The Tecate beer wall. A wall that brings us together.” A group of Mexicans and Americans then gather around the wall — which is actually just a three-foot ledge — to enjoy cold cans of Tecate together.
Even the ad for Avocados from Mexico, one of the most talked-about commercials from Sunday night’s Super Bowl, appeared to some to have an underlying political statement, due in part to the avocado panic that ensued on social media in response to the White House’s discussion over a potential border tax.
In the aftermath of the Trump’s administration’s threat to impose such a tariff, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) expressed his opposition, tweeting that, “Simply put, any policy proposal which drives up costs of Corona, tequila, or margaritas is a big-time bad idea.”
“Mucho Sad,” he added.
Meanwhile, the tax proposal took a toll on the stocks of Chipotle and Mexican beer brewers, including Corona, the top imported beer in the United States. Constellation Brands, which owns the rights to the Corona brand in the U.S. but not Mexico, saw its stock tumble following Trump’s border tax announcement, Fortune reported. Shares of Heineken, which makes Mexican beers Dos Equis and Tecate, also fell slightly.
But Corona was at work on its Desfronteriza ad campaign long before a border tax came into question.
In a statement about the campaign, Corona said: “This campaign is very different from our other applications of the brand. Everyone is familiar with the iconic Corona campaigns but this time we want to pass a clear message to all Mexicans, to break their mental frontiers and keep progressing. We hope the message we’re sharing resonates not only with generations of Mexicans but with people around the world,” Business Insider reported.
Just before the election, Corona launched a video that directly poked fun at what was then still just a far-fetched idea by a presidential candidate. In the video ad dubbed “The Wall,” Mexican actor Diego Luna opens with the words, “All of us are angry at the wall that mad man wants to build.”
Luna then jumps between buildings, tears through walls and encourages young Mexicans to break down barriers that keep them from moving forward.
“Focus on yourself and fight for what you want,” Luna says. “These cliches don’t define us.”
Clarification: An earlier version of this story should have noted that Constellation Brands does not own the Corona brand in Mexico.