Bus stop adds all over the city have recently popped up red. A silver disco ball hangs in the corner with mistletoe-looking greens, like a funked-up tree ornament of a globe, nestling behind greeting card wishes for the city's die-hard partiers and enthusiasts of la conbebencia (read: play on the word convivencia).
"Feliz Guadalupe Reyes!" it reads.
And the sentiments are brought to us by Antillano rum, the brand that's been marketing to the urban, alternative pop-cultured twenty-something crowd with billboards featuring scruffy guys (and a few femmes) caught with picaresque looks on their faces and quoted with witty irreverences like "A man's best friend is a cow," (the equivalent in English of a kitty, or pitch-in's), "I'm waiting for the girl of my dreams; she's bringing the ice," and "Every woman has something of beauty, even if it's a distant cousin."
You get the idea. And the catch phrase for them all is "Soy antillano y que?" I'm Antillano, so what? It's a pretty successful campaign, that's what. The company's PR department has managed to tap into an enormous marketing target, sponsoring six concerts in December alone at two of the most popular clubs in the city, with acts coming straight off the play list of the huge alternative radio station, Reactor 105.
And now they're wishing everyone not a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year, but a Happy Guadalupe Reyes, the holiday that's really a season, and the name of legendary drinking marathon that begins with the festivities of December 12 (Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe), and stretching on to January 6 (Día de Reyes, or Three Kings Day). It's the "Let's see if I'm really invincible" version of the long holiday season Mexico luxuriates in, a season that encompasses both Christmas and the New Year within its wide limits. If ever there were an excuse for a good liver-pickling, Guadalupe Reyes must surely be it.
And if you find yourself inclined to celebrate the season with a glass in hand, Antillano sure wishes you a happy one. Just let me know if you're as successful as their add campaign.