Behind the Brand: the wild experimentation of Desperados

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When looking for examples of boldness in branding, a few names usually come to mind. Heineken, Coca-Cola, Burger King... Desperados.

A brand like Desperados has wild experimentation in its very DNA. Born 25 years ago, Desperados thrives in constantly changing up and playing around with the rules of partying to provide meaningful experiences to partygoers.

All this, of course, was disrupted by the Covid crisis, which shed a veil of uncertainty on the shoulders of the event industry. However, with great adaptation spirit, Desperados was still able to thrive this year thanks to VR installations and virtual experiences. If there's one thing you can say about the Desperados brand, it is that it almost definitely will never give up easily.

For our very first Behind the Brand, we had an inspiring chat with Diederik Vos, Global Brand Director for Desperados and Sol, to learn more about the Desperados brand and what pushes it forward.


How was your brand born and what does it do?

Desperados is a tequila flavoured beer. Born from a wild experimentation 25 years ago, it ignites the party spirit by pushing the boundaries and rejecting the ordinary.

What is one unique aspect of your brand?

With wild experimentation in our DNA, a unique aspect of our brand is how we constantly remix the rules of partying to drive forward an ever-changing scene. Parties provide an unrivalled space to connect with others and push the boundaries – something Desperados knows a lot about having spent more than two decades throwing epic parties around the world.


Can you describe your brand’s personality in one sentence?

Desperados moves the party world forward by pushing the boundaries and rejecting the ordinary through wild experimentation.

What was the biggest challenge for the growth of your brand?

Like for many other brands, COVID-19 has been one of our biggest challenges yet. As a brand embedded in real human connections through partying and music, much of our work is usually based around events and festivals. With the safety of our consumers and partners as our number one priority, we shifted our strategy to be digital-first. Over the year we have worked with our long-term partner elrow to host virtual DJ sessions, encouraging partygoers to connect with each other from the safety of their homes.

Which was the first huge success that you can remember?

Well, one of my favourite memories with Desperados is last year’s Epic House Party – the main event in a yearlong series of parties where we brought consumers’ most epic party ideas to life. Understanding that consumers want to shape their own adventures, we put it back to them to tell us what they wanted to see at a Desperados experience, and together we created the world’s largest crowdsourced party in London. 

Going from this large, 3,000-person event in 2019 to shifting our strategy to be digital-first this year is something I’m really proud of. We’ve been successful at keeping the party spirit alive and pushing the boundaries of wild experimentation through our online concept, elrow show powered by Desperados.


What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your brand in the next year?

With a commitment to providing partygoers with new, immersive and unique party experiences, at Desperados we’ll continue to keep the party spirit alive by creating new opportunities to connect partygoers around the world in innovative new ways.

Last weekend, we took our lockdown-inspired virtual party series to epic new dimensions with our first-ever VR club experience with our partners elrow, Bootshaus and Sansar. This allowed us to transport partygoers directly from their homes – via VR headset, PC or mobile – into the legendary club in Germany to relive the energy and excitement we’ve all been missing in a whole new way.

Although it is unclear what the future of events and experiences looks like, we’re ready to adapt to the new realities of 2021 and take virtual partying to the next level. Stay tuned for more information!

Do you work with an in-house creative team, an agency or both?

We work with several creative agencies – mainly We Are Pi – to develop our creative strategies throughout the year. 

For this series, we worked closely with our long-term partner and globally renowned party producers, elrow, who create epic party experiences through virtual livestreams.


What do you look for in a creative agency?

We look for agencies, like We Are Pi and elrow, that are not afraid of pushing the boundaries of the everyday – because after all, experimentation is in our DNA.

What is one tip you would give to other brands looking to grow?

Because it’s so hard to cut through the noise nowadays, make sure you have a clear voice and point of view on a specific topic that aligns with your brand authentically. For example, at Desperados, we have a commitment to using creativity and innovation to move the party world forward. This strong perspective permeates across all aspects of the brand, from production and design to marketing and our partnerships.

What is your current role about? Any ‘typical’ day?

As Global Brand Director for Desperados and Sol, I am responsible for the development and implementation of the long-term integrated marketing, trade marketing and innovation plans to create top-line growth expressed in terms of market-share, revenue, profitability and brand equity. 

What’s your one big hope for the future of branding?

My hope is that despite the challenges we have all faced this year, we will be able to come out of this situation stronger, more creative and more adaptable to new situations, than ever before. This will hopefully give us a new perspective on how to communicate more effectively with our consumers and their changing needs.  

Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

I'm currently reading ‘Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. This book describing the human story is insightful, provocative and certainly gives you a sense of perspective. It often makes you look at things differently, a bit like good creativity also does.


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