Eat, Drink and Vacation – Grey: ‘Surrender to the Beat’ of El Torito

Grey Advertising here is breaking its first advertising campaign for El Torito Restaurants, less than two months after winning the $5-6 million account.
The television and radio campaign, which begins airing today in Los Angeles, San Diego and St. Louis, is based on the campaign strategy that Grey pitched to executives of the Irvine, Calif.-based restaurant chain in June. The ads play off the idea that going to the Mexican family-style restaurant is like taking a mini-vacation.
Filmed in part on location in La Paz, Mexico, and in El Torito restaurants, the first 30-second television commercial features a “layered image” look, according to Grey, Los Angeles, executive vice president and managing director Steve Blamer. Shots of people having a good time in Mexico are interspersed with visuals of people enjoying El Torito fare at the restaurants. Stock photography from the 1950s and modern images of blenders, food and people were scanned by computer and turned into animated graphics, which then appear over the location shots. Original music plays during the spot, with lines such as “Surrender to the beat of the blender.” The music from the commercials will play in the restaurants.
There is no formal tagline in any of the spots that make up Grey’s broadcast campaign.
“We really wanted to capture the breadth of the El Torito experience, and couple that with a true Mexican getaway,” said Alan Kupchick, Grey, Los Angeles, vice chairman and chief creative officer.
The first image execution will be followed by spots featuring specific menu items and promotions, according to Craig Silver, Grey, Los Angeles, senior vice president and management supervisor on El Torito. Sixty-second radio spots will support the television work in the above-mentioned markets and in San Francisco.
“Grey brought a fresh perspective and fine-tuned our marketing direction,” said El Torito vice president of marketing Karen Wagner about the new campaign.
The creative team on the campaign consisted of Kupchick, creative directors Mary Maron and Doug Morris, producers Jim Miller and Jason Stewart, and directors Saam Gabbay and Mark Jeremias. Gadget School, a production company in Venice, Calif., known for utilizing the layering technique in music videos, produced the spots.
El Torito operates approximately 90 restaurants, primarily in Southern California.