Tongue-in-cheek opening of Pink Taco attracts A-list

Having launched Pink Taco in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in 1999 and having opened a second location in Scottsdale, AZ, a year and a half ago, owner Harry Morton was ready to bring the restaurant chain to his hometown of LA.

Having launched Pink Taco in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in 1999 and having opened a second location in Scottsdale, AZ, a year and a half ago, owner Harry Morton was ready to bring the restaurant chain to his hometown of LA.

Pink Taco worked with its in-house PR department and Full Picture for the opening of Pink Taco LA, with a campaign that involved some tongue-in-cheek elements.

Strategy

"Because we can be seen as a relatively controversial brand, we needed to walk that fine line of being funny/risque while not offending anybody," says Spencer Villasenor, Pink Taco VP of marketing and PR. The restaurant wanted to build off the cool vibe in its existing locations, while catering to the LA community, adds Nicole Esposito, Full Picture PR VP.

Tactics

Pink Taco threw a "Cynthia de Mayo" birthday party for talent manager, Cynthia Pett-Dante, serving signature Pink Taco dishes. Pink Taco's mascot, a pink donkey, made various appearances around town. And the team launched a grassroots effort, posting flyers on telephone poles claiming to have found the unmentionable belongings of someone who had one too many margaritas at the restaurant, which led to extensive phone call outreach. Pink Taco also sent lunches to local radio stations on opening day.

Results

"We had Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston asking to hold girls' nights at Pink Taco," Esposito says. Talent agents seeking reservations also generated buzz. The opening party was so popular that the fire marshal closed it for overcrowding. Regional and national coverage included the LA Times, In Touch, Access Hollywood, and PerezHilton.com. Web traffic spiked on opening day with nearly 40,000 hits.

Future

The client-agency relationship could possibly be extended for other projects on the horizon.

PR team: Pink Taco (Los Angeles) and Full Picture (Los Angeles and New York)

Campaign: The launch of Pink Taco LA

Duration: March to July 2007

Budget: $50,000

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