Fiesta of Ads


On Sunday I went to the yearly promotional event that takes place on Broadway in Downtown, absurdly called a Fiesta, and I took a few pictures. It’s time the event changes its names to something more like Ad Fiesta, Ads on Broadway, or Crap Items You May Later Wish To Purchase Day, or it should just be canceled (preferably the latter) because there is nothing festive about this sucky, sorry excuse for an event. And it’s depressing that companies see Latinos as nothing but a marketing demographic. Although there are some stages for music, the bulk of what you are expected to do is to wait in long lines at booths to get some product samples. Let me show you! (cuidado: muchas fotos!)


At least they no longer do the full police style search just to get in, where they used to make you stand with your legs apart, hands clasped behind your head, while the guard clamps onto your hands. I stopped going for a few years because of that.


The crowd, as usual, is mostly Latinos.


I’d been hearing about how the event was going “green” but the first thing I see is a huge red-carpet area to display antiquated methods for the transport of bodies.


Oh wait, here’s the green zone, off to a little corner from the main strip. Many people were walking out with trees for planting or info to read from the various organizations. I didn’t see anyone carrying mulch.


A reporter for a Spanish language TV station was also interested in this area.


But there were way more people hoping to get some free caps advertising a caffeinated sugar drink. (Note: yes, I blacked out the name of this company, along with a few others, I’m not about to give them more ad space!)


Across the way was a giant bottle of drugs. Nothing says Fiesta like extra-strength antacid.


And if you’re having a really good time, you might want to call for the Antacid Squad!


Here we have what I call the corral: you wait in a long line that snakes thru a bunch of booths at once, and there are metal barriers to make sure you don’t decide you’ve had enough of this cattle treatment. Yes, lots of people were waiting in line, who doesn’t want free stuff? And what else are you supposed to do when the whole event is about all this free junk? I guess you have to make the trip worthwhile.


Here’s another long line to check out a novelty car. From the looks of it, you’d think this was a ride at an amusement park.


A self-hating chicken advertises for a product made from chickens. They got to you pollo, you’ve been brainwashed!


A giant can of beans. Most real beaners make their own.


Aww, how cute! A giant sized pack of toilet paper. Who the hell is going to need that much?


Maybe this grinning fool that looks remarkably like the governor.


FYI, there is no alcohol being served at this “fiesta”, I think the organizers don’t want the waiting masses to get out of line, literally and figuratively. We tried to get a beer at this place but it was conveniently open only to people with special tickets as it was a “private function”, that’s a good work around to keep the riff-raff out. Of course, some random white lady visiting the fiesta (with no ticket as well) was given an exception and allowed in, I guess she knew the secret Anglo password. Yeah, we saw that, manager dude in a pink shirt.


They do not provide any seating or rest area throughout the whole of the event, they don’t even place any of the music stages near grassy areas, it’s standing or sitting on downtown streets.


A group of young ladies hard at work teaching the proper methods for acceptable beauty. Que es soap?


A sad looking bear gets hit with a bout of heartburn. Where’s the antacid squad when you need it?


The sign for this gum translates to “open your mouth, it’s your turn”. WTF?


Another long line for a competitor gum, at least they’re not trying to force it in your mouth.


They provided something for the kids to do while the parents waited; this little girl almost made it to the top.

The other activity that was new from previous years were the different singing and dancing games to win even larger sized samples. This clip shows one such event but the guy refused to sing along with the canned music and decided to present his own corrido to the world. The goofball host quickly cuts him off before he can start the third verse. The winner was some little girl that couldn’t sing for shit. Boo, hiss.


Some nuts presented a machine to measure the technological superiority of their spiritual beliefs.


We stuck around to see Ozomatli, they were okay. But I really should have left earlier. I think it’s time to leave this post as well.
In conclusion: To the organizers, cancel your shitty event. To the attendees, 15 years ago we were getting full-sized samples without waiting in line, this event isn’t worth your time. I hope the May Day protests wash away the bad taste this fake ass fiesta left on Broadway.


Eso, eso, eso!

11 thoughts on “Fiesta of Ads”

  1. This was one of the most insane events I’ve ever been to. The scope (36 fucking blocks of Broadway!) and the endless amount of corporate logos and the incredible number of people just blew me away. It’s hard for me to describe some of the sites I saw that I’ve never seen before in the entirety of my life. Let’s see: How about a giant branded toilet paper bouncy slide? Or a Washington Mutual latino dance party? Mile long lines to get free samples of who knows what? Dudes walking around dressed up as firemen and passing out Tums, and people actually taking them with smiles on their faces? Or the most insane of all, how about when the Rockstar guys decided to hand out free energy drinks and a mob of desperate people formed… yikes… around then was when I decided I had to leave.

  2. I’ve hated this thing for years.
    Of course, some random white lady visiting the fiesta (with no ticket as well) was given an exception and allowed in, I guess she knew the secret Anglo password. Yeah, we saw that, manager dude in a pink shirt.
    …and THAT is super fucked.

  3. The manager at the Broadway Bar is super shady. It’s pretty well know that they don’t take kindly to colored folks over there.

  4. I had no idea Fiesta Broadway was this bad.

    What better way to assimilate recent Mexican and Central American immigrans than making them consumers of things they probably don’t need?

  5. I just noticed the baby on the toilet paper inflatable is…of color. Usually they put happy white babies on there. I appreciate diversity and think it should be represented in advertising, but this screams “calculated.” It’s disgusting.

  6. I can’t wait for the companion “Festival Garibaldi” in downtown Guadalajara… let me see. For it to properly balance this piece of crap, it would have to be in Mexico’ssecond largest city. It would have, oh, lame-ass country bands, people giving away free samples of Slim Jim beef jerky, raffle tickets for vacation packages in Des Moines, timeshares in Orlando, houseboat getways in Missouri and food booths with McDonalds, Carl’s Jr and White Castle everywhere. Oh, they already do that here in the US at just about every so-called “street fair”! What a shame. Mexico fortunately doesn’t tend to do this sort of thing (yet). I think the worst part is that they pass this off as a “fiesta”. It is certinaly NOT a fiesta. YOU CAN’T HAVE A FIESTA WITHOUT TEQUILA, YOU BOZOS!!!!

    Ok, got that off my chest. I did hang around over there for a little while, and yeah, it was just another corporate exercise in blatant self-promotion. Pretty lame, ugly and loud. Ozo is always cool, but I couldn’t help but think they looked like a caged animal locked in an event they’d rather not be associated with.

    The best “festival”, “fiesta”, “street fair” or anything of the sort I went to in the past 12 months was the Eagle Rock Music Festival back on October 7th. It was a great, low key, pretty non-corporate event with cool music and good eats.

  7. “I just noticed the baby on the toilet paper inflatable is…of color. Usually they put happy white babies on there. I appreciate diversity and think it should be represented in advertising”

    I too appreciate when grocery store products of pictures of non white people on them. One of the reasons I buy Aunt Jemima syrup is for its great picture of that ole mammy. Reminds me of how far we’ve come. And I like all the latino colors on my can of beans. Its just rad. I don’t have to go down to the taco truck and hang out with the border hoppers to get a good can of beans and to appreciate mexican culture. Sometimes I buy the tofu with all that crazy asian writing on it too. Its so awesome that we live in a world where all cultures are marketed. I just wish that more companies would market more things with people of color on them that would make me a happy whitey.

    matt lucas

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