Nachos Shouldn’t Be Jalapeño PR Strategy

March 4, 2016

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“Show me a man who doesn’t enjoy a good nacho and I’ll show you a liar.” – Mahatma Gandhi, probably

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved nachos. They were a staple at the Little League concession stand. Paired with some candy cigarettes and it didn’t matter if we won or lost. Years later, my mom would go the Sam’s route and buy a tub of glorious golden processed cheese. It was my Winnie the Pooh honey pot. And going to the movies without getting nachos? Well you’re basically spitting on the American flag.

You see, I am a nacho man. Always have been. No matter where I go for dinner, nachos are the play. They’re delicious, they’re affordable and they’re safe. Outside of the monsters that use Tostitos Scoops for their chip of choice, it’s nearly impossible to mess up a plate of nachos. I mean, once you have the framework of chips, cheese and protein, it’s really just a matter of preferential toppings (author choice: light salsa, sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos…if you include beans or olives I will go full Chris Farley coffee hidden camera).

If we go to a restaurant that has nachos, my meal is – at minimum – a 7/10. And there’s no way I’m going home hungry. I am confident the nachos will be good, even those bottom chips that have gotten soggy under the excess cheese. I can’t say the same about anything else on the menu. Just don’t know. Sure, the flank steak, cheesy mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach SOUNDS interesting. But they also might make me break out in shingles. I don’t know how the science works but I do know nachos have never been tied to shingles. Ever.

And so it goes, this boring culinary existence. It is a lifelong practice that has served my taste buds well. And if there is one thing I’ve learned from this cheesy, diabetes-foreshadowing way of life that has guided me throughout my PR days, it’s this: When it comes to PR, do not order the nachos.

You know why nachos are so popular? Okay, yes, because they have a lot of cheese and carbs. But also because everyone can make them. Sure, you won’t hate them – how could you – but you won’t be talking about them the next day either.  Nachos make for boring PR. Delicious breakfast. Boring PR.

Clients don’t hire us to give them nachos. They know what nachos taste like. If they wanted nachos, they’d make them in house and hire a cheaper agency to just dump chips on a plate and hand them a jar of queso. And they’d probably use Tostitos Scoops like the animals they are.

Clients expect their PR agency to try everything on the menu, to analyze every entree, mix platters, even try to order something off-menu. Chicken nuggets and a Twinkie at Wolfgang Puck’s? Sure, we’ll give it a shot.

With each new announcement, promotion or thought-leadership initiative, don’t settle on the same old boring nachos for your strategy. Think bigger. Think different. Don’t worry about being told that’s not possible or “we don’t serve that here.” The possibility of a bad meal shouldn’t prevent you from potentially discovering the greatest thing you’ve ever eaten. I fully endorse the Nacho Initiative at Chilli’s, but I can’t co-sign that for your media comms plan.

This isn’t to say we can’t order nachos from time to time. A world without nachos? Katniss Everdeen never saw a Hunger Games of that magnitude. Nachos are still good, and they can fill the gaps between these new, more farm-to-table-to-media impressions meal selections. But even when you do order the nachos, maybe try to change them up a bit. Slap a little bit bacon on there. Or put them in the oven to crisp them up. You might just uncover a new favorite meal, and a very happy client…whom you can celebrate with over a plate of nachos.

-Jason

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