Can Tabasco liven up even the most unappetizing foods?
The brand tried just that with an unconventional pop-up eatery in Canada recently. The clever idea was to order in food from restaurants in the area that got terrible reviews, and then bring the dishes back to life with the help of Tabasco.
Obviously it helped that they brought in a professional chef, and he did introduce other new ingredients, not just the Tabasco. Still, it's a very believable stunt that reflects well on the brand—and perhaps even debunks the notion that hot sauce becomes the flavor of a dish rather than enhancing the other flavors.
The stunt was orchestrated by agency Rethink.
"In a context where there's more and more hot sauces everywhere, some of which are so spicy that they end up overshadowing flavors, we wanted to remind people that Tabasco is first and foremost a flavor enhancer. So the idea came from simply wanting to put the iconic sauce to a real-life test," agency account manager Alexe Dupont tells Muse. "Since people are obsessed with ratings for restaurants and food, from Yelp to the Michelin Guide, we used real-life ratings by real people as an impartial measure of success."
The agency chose John Mike Leblond because he has a history of improvising with whatever food he's given.
"He's used to making wonders with scraps in ephemeral settings," says Dupont. "Even before going out of cooking school, he organized food parties, challenging himself to cook ingredients that were left out by butchers and fishmongers. His first venture, the now-closed Tripes&Caviar, was an award-winning restaurant specializing in giblets in a neighborhood where no restaurants had ever been before. His traveling pop-up Espadon explores a new part of the world every year, looking for new inspiration. This is what sparked our attention and made us reach out to him for this project. The fact that he's funny didn't hurt, either."
Client: ID Foods (Tabasco) Diana D'Elia, Ghita Zebdi
Agency : Rethink
National Creative Directors: Chris Staples, Ian Grais
Creative Director: Nicolas Quintal
Copywriter: Xavier Blais
Art Director: Maxime Sauté
Strategic Planner: Pascal Routhier
Account Services: Alex Lefebvre, Alexe Dupont
Producer: Marie-Noëlle Rosso
Production house: Film Truck
Directors: Dan & Pag
Production director: Antoine Lortie-Ouellet
Producer: Alexandre Caron
DOP: Mathieu Élie
Postproduction coordinator: Gabrielle Doré
Sound: Maxime Dumesnil
Assistant caméra: Rafi Leuwenkroon,
Grip: Stéphane Charon, Alain Desmarchias
Production assistants: Mathieu Richard, Charlène Brochu
Makeup: Tania Guarnaccia
Props: Mathilde Beaudoin-Tessier