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Old El Paso campaign supports new dinner kits

General Mills capitalizes on Mexican food trend to elevate offerings

Old El Paso is bringing the Mexican restaurant experience home with “Noche Restaurante”—a campaign supporting the brand’s recently introduced line of restaurant-quality dinner kits.

Old El Paso Restaurante hit stores across Canada in August, and includes three products: Steak Carne Asada, Chicken Tinga and Baha Fish tacos. Consumers need to provide their own protein, and each kit contains sauce, a protein seasoning and tortillas. The Restaurante line is exclusive to Canada.

According to Lori Hillier, director of marketing of meals and baking at General Mills, Mexican food is extremely hot right now, offering the brand an opportunity to elevate its offerings.

“We saw the explosion of Mexican restaurants and we were determined to find a way for Old El Paso to bring this amazing restaurant-style Mexican food to Canadians,” Hillier said. “Consumers love Mexican food and they’re looking to experience it more often. This allows them to have a more restaurant-style experience, and it’s designed with proteins that haven’t necessarily been used before in tacos. We see this as a completely new sub-brand for Old El Paso.”

Developed in partnership with its creative agency of record, Cossette, the campaign's elements include TV, digital, social and in-store sampling events. The campaign does not yet include Quebec.

Old El Paso has also created a website,, where consumers can learn more about the products, watch how-to videos and share photos of their dishes online using #mexicanchefs.

Hillier said the brand conducted extensive research before launching the new offerings, including visiting a different Mexican restaurant each month to identify the best flavours, and sending one of its top chefs to Oaxaca, Mexico to learn more about authentic Mexican cuisine.

Packaging for the Old El Paso Restaurante line was also tweaked. The boxes are primarily red, the logo is smaller and the food photography has a more sophisticated look.

“Packaging is a huge lever for the brand and a really key part of this launch. We needed to show consumers that this was something different,” Hillier said. “Canadians are really looking to expand their horizons in Mexican and move beyond the ground beef taco.”

“Noche Restaurante” will run throughout the year. Old El Paso worked with a number of agencies on the campaign including; Zenith (media buy), Citizen Optimum Relations (PR), Hunter (packaging) and The Hot Plate (online how-to videos). In addition to handing the launch event, Mosaic was also tasked with in-store activation.

This article originally appeared in Marketing magazine.

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