Split Decision For Taco Cabana

T3 Gains Creative Account, Media Rare Gets Buying Chores
DALLAS–Taco Cabana Restaurants of San Antonio has split assignments on its estimated $6 million account between T3 in Austin, Texas, and San Antonio buying specialist Media Rare.
T3 has been assigned creative advertising and promotions, as well as “out of the box” marketing that impressed the client, according to Taco Cabana field marketing director Zifa Esparza. Media Rare was given general market media duties.
Both join the client’s Latino agency of record, Montemayor y Asociados of San Antonio, to form a smaller-shop roster sought by new marketing senior vice president Dennis Greenia.
The decision followed a review of undisclosed agencies launched in August. The account was previously at The Richards Group in Dallas.
Esparza said the chain will emphasize local marketing and promotions over across-the-board imaging in 1999. In a statement, Greenia said the firm was not interested in hiring “an agency [which] automatically thinks the solution to every situation is an ad.” Taco Cabana spent most of its budget on radio and billboard ads in 1997, Greenia said.
Gay Gaddis, president of T3, cited her shop’s nontraditional work with Dick’s Last Resort pubs and Gambrinus Co.’s Shiner Bock beer. With Dick’s, T3 has worked with local managers to brand menus unique to each market and sponsored aerial displays at sporting events. T3’s work from 1995 included a Shiner Bock Web site that provided updated band listings for clubs throughout Texas.
Media Rare adds to its stable of national clients for general market and Hispanic media, like Texaco and Time Warner Cable, many of which are handled through partnerships with other agencies. One ally is San Antonio’s KJS/Spark, chaired by Lionel Sosa, a member of the publicly held Taco Cabana’s board of directors.
Media Rare president Toni Bell said her company worked with Taco Cabana before the 110-unit, five-state operation assigned its account to Richards in 1996.
“There will be a lot of media and custom promotions marketing for the local stores,” said Bell.