Taco Mayo’s Battle Cry: ‘Eat ’em Up’

Visual Images Rolls Out Torpita TV, Radio Campaign in Southwest
OKLAHOMA CITY–Another contender has entered the prime-time taco wars initiated by the world’s most famous talking chihuahua.
Oklahoma City-based Taco Mayo, a regional Mexican fast-food chain, began rolling out a new campaign in the South and Midwest this month that includes radio and television advertising, direct mail and point-of-purchase materials.
No talking dogs or Mexican freedom fighters play the role of spokesperson. Instead, Taco Mayo’s new agency of record, Visual Image Advertising of Oklahoma City, chose to adapt 1940’s and ’50’s wartime and feature film footage to create spots that look like trailers. The new tagline: “Eat ’em up”.
The $1.5 million campaign is geared to introduce a new menu item, the torpita, a pita stuffed with chicken or beef, refried beans and toppings. Vintage footage of submarine warfare plays on the similar-sounding names of “torpedo” and “torpita.”
In addition to the launch of the torpita, Visual Image president Tim Berney said the goal of the campaign was to broaden Taco Mayo’s market.
“The majority of their business comes from the 25-44 demographic, which we could break down further to 30- to 34-year-olds,” Berney said. “We wanted to do a campaign theme that would appeal to the younger, where we don’t do as well, and that wouldn’t alienate the older demographic.”
Visual Image won the Taco Mayo account earlier this year from Owens Neumann in Oklahoma City, the company’s previous agency of record for more than 10 years.
Taco Mayo has 111 retail outlets in seven states including Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Randy Earhardt, president of Taco Mayo, said the initial response to the new creative work has been positive.
“Our expectations [for the torpita] are 12-15 percent of sales,” he said. “If they didn’t run double digits, we wouldn’t be happy. But it looks like they’re going that way.”
The torpita, Earhardt said, is being marketed as a premiere product. “It’s a big item, not a gordita or soft taco or snack item,” he said.
The television campaign is currently focused on Oklahoma and North Texas, where the majority of company-owned sites are located. Independent franchises will have the option of purchasing the campaign for local use.