Cholula Hot Sauce

"Uncap Real Flavor"

After tremendous success of a major league baseball program, Spitball was tasked to take the Cholula brand to the next level through a national brand campaign. With the hot sauce category heating up, both in the competitive set and their reliance on heat-based messaging, Spitball looked to fight fire with something that was unique to brand.

Despite working on Cholula for years, we still dove deep into research and carved a strategic and creative platform that leaned heavily into what made Cholula unique in the hot sauce category. It’s generations-old recipe, unique flavor-first peppers and authentic recipe makes Cholula more flavorful than other hot sauces. This unique brand attribute paved the way to Uncap Real Flavor, an invitation to discover what hot sauce was intended to do – add flavor to your food not singe your tastebuds.

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The messaging platform was reinforced with a brand look and feel that resembled hand-crafted restaurant chalk signs coupled with wood textures to play into the brand’s iconic wooden cap. The chalk on slate visuals not only created a unique look for the brand but also acted as a versatile canvas for a plethora of marketing and communication allowing the brand to define their consistent image but also be opportunistic in developing custom on-the-fly materials.

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The launch of the ad campaign centered around the product and key attributes through print and digital advertising. With a concentrated push in key markets that were dominated by other competitors, the campaign needed to first introduce the differentiation of Cholula and its unique flavors.

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Social media content development was key for Cholula to not only drive loyalty to their current consumers but drive awareness to new hot sauce users. A robust calendar of content focused on food and everyday events help leverage various brand assets. All of the chalk art was hand done by the agency to reinforce the artisan craftsmanship of the brand.

With the success of the initial launch and influx of social engagement, Spitball evolved the campaign to allow our passionate fans to tell our brand story. Without incentive, Cholula users share their love of the product in social media – which was the inspiration and actual content of the new phase of advertising. Messages that were shared were used in broader branded advertising including commercials and print ads.

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The brand adopted the slate chalk look and feel across all channels during this multi-year growth. The website was overhauled to better display the brand and flavors. With other hot sauces having their limited go-to uses, Cholula developed a library of unique recipes to help inspire new ways to use hot sauce. The website acted as a hub to all marketing including an increase in experiential marketing to drive consumer engagement and sampling. Partnerships through media properties allowed Cholula to get the product in people’s hands.

As the Cholula brand hit critical mass with its eyes set on overtaking Tabasco, the latest campaign focused on tapping into pop culture. With Cholula having the perfect balance of heat and flavor, Spitball conceived an advertising campaign called “Mashups.” Popular objects from dogs to roller-skates to s’mores were used to capture a new audience in a creative new way.

“Spitball was able to identify the key brand pillars and play them into a campaign that resonated with our target audiences. They are extremely fun to partner with but also extremely dedicated and invested in the brand. They have been able to keep things fresh and pace us ahead of the competition.”