Pancheros Celebrates 21st Birthday (and Fans) with Video Fun

November 7, 2013


Another year of business is a milestone worth celebrating for any company. And when that year aligns with a well-known life milestone, it’s not a bad idea to make it part of the celebration. That’s exactly what Pancheros Mexican Grill is doing to celebrate their 21st birthday. We sat down with Reid Travis, Marketing Director for the fast casual restaurant franchise, to talk about how they recently hit the streets with a “leading consultant” to ask fans how they would celebrate 21 years of business.

Happy 21st Birthday! We’re loving the YouTube campaign that you released to celebrate. What made you decide to jump on the 21st birthday bandwagon?

Your 21st birthday is a huge milestone in the life of a young adult living in the states. As a brand, we figured since people have so much fun celebrating this milestone that we should get in on the action. Problem is, we weren’t entirely sure how to approach the topic of 21. Thus, the idea for the campaign came up. You tell us how best to turn 21. How did you celebrate this coming to age experience? Help educate Pancheros on this process.

Your videos feature many individuals for interviews. Why did you choose to feature fans?

We adore our fans. And often times, they are funnier, more creative and way more interesting than we could be. So putting them in the spotlight to help us just made sense. With a little direction and some liquid courage we were able to gather some really great footage. We had a tough time in the editing process.

Your brand clearly has a sense of humor. Perhaps a non-traditional form of humor, at that. Who came up with this personality and why do you think it fits for your brand?

We work with a marketing agency in Madison, Wisconsin called Planet Propaganda. They guided us through a bit of a rebrand in 2012. This rebrand touched upon the physical aspects of our brand (logo marks) but also on our communication and voice. They helped us get comfortable with the idea that humor is something we could leverage more often in our messaging.

I think it fits our brand because our product isn’t overly serious. I mean, don’t get me wrong, burritos are serious business; but lets not kid ourselves, lives don’t hang in the balance. No one else in this space was doing a proper job with humor. So we decided we would start that trend.

For campaigns like this, what role does in-store marketing play in drawing fans and customers online?

We have a few in-restaurant touch points that we leverage for these campaigns. We’re not real fond of being overly preachy within the four walls of our restaurants. We realize people just want to go and get a burrito and enjoy themselves, not be inundated with countless marketing messages. But we do have a few posters that are placed in a stand at the entrance, and one on the wall usually along the queue line.

pancheros infographic

These are often just humorous branded messages to liven up the joint, but when the timing is appropriate, we will drop messaging with a specific call-to-action like “Help us celebrate turning 21! Visit our Facebook page to join on the fun!” It helps get the word out, but many of these campaigns live and exist specifically in the digital world and we rely heavily on the opportunities there to spread the content.

Any other celebrations that fans can look for in the future?

We do a campaign focused on Bob the Tool every spring. Previous campaigns have been Save The Bobs and Bobs Gone Wild. I’ll admit we don’t have a lot planning done for this coming spring, but you can bet it’ll be something fun. And weird. But mostly fun.

Thanks Reid! We’ll definitely keep you and your team in mind for when it’s time to celebrate our 21st birthday.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.