Wahoo’s Fish Taco Hires The Hive

SAN FRANCISCO The Hive Advertising said it has become the agency for Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurants.

The Hive, an independent San Francisco shop, has already done a brand analysis assignment for the chain of California-Mexican restaurants, said DeeAnn Budney, agency creative director, and changed the tagline from “Fueling the forces” to “Drop in. Have fun. Eat well.”

New work should break in late summer and include print, outdoor and possibly broadcast, Budney said. Wahoo’s primarily does print advertising, mostly in Orange County and in alternative weekly newspapers. Billings are undisclosed.

The company wants to expand to Northern California, and decided to hire an agency rather than continue to do the work in-house. Mingo Lee, chief executive of Wahoo’s, said he was looking for a shop that knows the region and could help translate the brand to a new audience.

“And with The Hive, we felt there was a really good cultural fit. They really understand the relationship we have with our customers,” Lee said.

The Hive’s co-founders, Budney and Dave Knox, concurred, saying Wahoo’s knows its clientele.

“These guys have a fantastic brand built on authenticity, ” Budney said. “They know what their customers want because they’re just like them—they surf, they snowboard, they eat fish tacos. And they’re also a lot like us—they’re entrepreneurial, scrappy and most importantly, they actually respect their consumers and employees. “

Wahoo’s, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is known for its freshly prepared, flame-broiled tacos, burritos, salads, sandwiches and its casual “surf shack” decor. The chain opened in 1988 and operates 33 restaurants in California and Colorado.