Halloween’s sister celebration, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), has become part of American mainstream culture. But beyond the meticulous skull makeup, Mexican food and tequila shots that most people associate with this event, many are still trying to understand what exactly is it that we’re supposed to celebrate. Leading multicultural agency Orcí wants you to know that, besides the traditional observance, Día de los Muertos could also be all that—a celebration that can be taken with a side of sugar.
The Santa Monica-based agency released a handful of satirical and ingenious videos to this effect, fictitious infomercials selling a Party Animal Altar Kit and a Pet Lover Altar Kit. For Luiz Salles, senior vice-president and head of strategic planning at Orcí, the idea behind these videos was “to show how the holiday is a mash-up of cultures and a celebration of life—not death. So, in contrast with the macabre or scary tonality of Halloween, we made these fun, colorful and vibrant.”
With roots in Mexican indigenous cultures, the celebration changed over the centuries after Spanish colonization, adopting some elements of All Souls' Day and becoming a holiday to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. And although some of the traditional aspects of Día de los Muertos may not be as popular in the US as they are in Mexico—like the colorful altars with offerings—many of the other festive motives have been fully embraced in America.