VITRO and ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ Director Dive Into El Pollo Loco’s History

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in September we learned that L.A.-based chicken chain El Pollo Loco had split with its creative AOR BSSP and invited several area shops to compete for its business. Those parties included a unit called GM Plumbing and VITRO, which won the review for an account that was worth $27 million in 2012.

The MDC Partners shop has now released its first creative work for the brand with the help of director David Gelb, who helmed the excellent 2011 doc “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and the consistently good (if you’re into that sort of thing) Netflix series “Chef’s Table.”

Like his previous work, this one is all about culinary authenticity that comes “Fresh From the Grill.” It’s also got a bit of that L.A. flavor—no, not the Golden Globes kind.

Brothers Jake and Victor Camozzi, who joined VITRO last February to launch its Austin office, led creative on the campaign.

“It’s a new direction,” Jake said regarding the new work. “In the past they were a little more comedy-based, but this is a lot more documentary-style and anthemic. They are a legitimate brand with a great heritage and history that’s part of the fabric of L.A.”

The chain, which initially started in Mexico, opened its first California location in 1980 and now includes 400 such branches. “It started with one place on Alvarado Street with one guy cooking really good chicken,” Camozzi said, “and we wanted to bring it to life as almost a love letter to the city.”

Victor Camozzi said that the agency thought of Gelb as an ideal director for the campaign: “As soon as we jumped on the phone he said, this is directly in my wheelhouse, shooting food in a way that looks real but not like the visual tropes of other food shooters out there.”

Jake adds that the history of the company “made our job really easy” and that the team also collaborated with Jorge R. Gutierrez, an illustrator who created the mural that plays a prominent role in the above spot and directed the 2014 animated film The Book of Life.

The Camozzi brothers told us that future spots will delve deeper into the Pollo Loco story, and VITRO will also be handling social media for the client, though that work is still in development.

“There’s no denying the immense influence that the vibrant personality and character of LA has had on El Pollo Loco, and it became clear to us our campaign needed to tell this hometown story,” said VITRO CEO Tom Sullivan. “We’re proud to debut ‘Road to Authenticity’ which highlights the quality and authenticity of El Pollo Loco through a beautiful and enticing travelogue showcasing exactly what inspires everything they do and have done for over 30 years.”

In the meantime, here are two more recent :15 spots.

Now order online!


Chief Creative Officer: John Vitro
ECD’s: Jake and Victor Camozzi
Creative Director: Joel Guidry
Account Executive: Alex Deme
Account Executive: Stefanie Meehan