Weston makes push to own tortilla category

Casa Mendosa's first mass campaign spoofs telenovelas in an attempt to capture a growing segment of bakery sales.

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Weston tortilla brand Casa Mendosa is having fun with telenovela conventions in its first ever ad campaign, released to coincide with Cinco de Mayo and capitalize on a growing opportunity in the segment.

The 15- and 30-second TV spots in the “Pasión Por Las Tortillas” campaign feature an overhead view of someone making a fajita dinner with the tortillas, who also references silly soap staples like love triangles and throwing drinks in the face of an antagonist. Online content released leading up to Cinco de Mayo brought the idea to life further, showing a scene from a fake telenovela called “Pasión por las Tortillas,” dubbed over with over-the-top, passionate dialogue about burritos and fajitas.

“As a brand with authentic Mexican roots, we wanted to capitalize on Cinco de Mayo, a time when consumers want to replicate authentic Mexican dishes at home,” says Sonia Bongiorno, senior manager of marketing brand build at Weston Foods, about the timing of the brand’s first campaign. She adds that the recipe shown in the creative is actually very true to the traditional Mexican way of making tortillas. “Every piece captures the same playful, authentic tone and features our Mexican-inspired tortilla as the hero.”

According to Bongiorno, tortillas have experienced rapid growth over the last decade, and are currently worth over $200 million and represent 10% of the total packaged bakery category. She attributes the growth to tortillas’ ease of use and shifts from “traditional” packaged bread consumption to alternative options as consumers expand their repertoires. Also, she says, consumers are increasingly familiar with the segment, as mainstream QSRs like Tim Hortons have featured items that leverage tortillas on their everyday menus.

Bongiorno says there is also white space in tortillas, as Weston’s key competitors don’t play in this arena with dedicated brands. Weston rival Grupo Bimbo has been exploring the flat bread category and sees tortillas as an opportunity. However, it has been exploring it by extending existing brands like Dempster’s and the company has previously said it has been losing out to the likes of Weston, as well as regional competitors.

The campaign is running in Western Canada, which was selected as the ideal test region because Casa Mendosa has been demonstrating strong growth momentum and has high penetration there.  “Given it is the first time the brand is investing in an integrated marketing campaign, we wanted to use a specific region within Canada to test and learn from our creative and media strategy,” Bongiorno says.

Production on the campaign began before physical distancing measures came into place, and Weston and AOR Union were able to finish post-production from home. However, the brand did adapt some of its social messaging to address the quarantine, specifically when it came to still celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a way that respected social distancing, with stickers that read “Solo de Mayo” or “Cinco por duo.”

Dentsu handled media buying for TV.