Texas Tourism and Austin’s Proof Advertising Show What’s Really Deep in the Heart of Texas

By Shawn Paul Wood 

Some states are synonymous with certain foods. California has avocados. Idaho has spuds. Alaska has king crab. And Texas has those three magic letters: B-B-Q.

As it happens, this month doubles as National Barbecue Month, giving Travel Texas (the state office of economic development and tourism) and agency of record Proof Advertising an ideal way to attract vaccinated Americans eager to hit the road after an extended pandemic lockdown. A new tourism campaign leans into the Lone Star State’s barbecue pedigree, with a social and digital scavenger hunt providing a novel way for hungry barbecue enthusiasts to experience the entire state of Texas.

“Texas BBQ is iconic and National BBQ month is the ideal time to promote the unique people, places and flavors that make Texas BBQ special,” said Tim Fennel, Tourism Deputy Director of Travel Texas. “You can’t experience authentic Texas BBQ anywhere but Texas and it is a great way for travelers to begin to explore all the authentic and exciting experiences available in Texas.”


The “It’s Not May. It’s BBQ Month” campaign will feature the top 50 barbeque restaurants across the state and TikTok videos featuring the most colorful pitmasters in a series called “Pitmaster Ponderings.” One of the most celebrated pitmasters in Texas is Tootsie Tomanetz at Snow’s BBQ in southeast Texas.

In addition to video testimonials that will appear on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, Proof was able to wrangle a licensed partnership between Travel Texas and Texas Monthly for a “Texas BBQ Month Cookbook” with recipes and tips for at-home pitmasters to catch on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

“There is nothing ’typical BBQ’ about Texas BBQ,” said Proof Advertising ecd Craig Markus. “So, when BBQ month rolls around there is nothing typical about the way Texans celebrate it. That led us to the idea that while most people call it May, here we just call it BBQ.”

The national campaign will include rich media, interactive executions for consumers to “slice” a brisket, and digital display ads across websites targeting people who love the unofficial state food of Texas. (Would you believe the official state dish is chili?) The campaign is slated to run through the summer.