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The Ask

Develop a strategy based in cultural innovation (vs. better mousetrap & mindshare marketing) to give it new life as a distinctive brand in the marketplace. 

The Goal

Break Tabasco out of the literal red sea of hot sauce messaging and spice things up. 

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Tabasco Origins

in 1868, Edmund Mcllhenny in Avery Island, Louisiana decided it was time to change the "diet of the Reconstruction South" from bland and monotonous and added some spice. He decided to create a pepper sauce to give the food more flavor and excitement. 

Worldwide Favorite 

Since growing his first pepper, getting a patent he was able to start selling his sauce throughout the U.S., even Europe, in the 1870s and is now the most popular hot sauce in the world. 

Tony Simmons, the great grandson of Edmund and CEO of the company, says "there was no commercially sold hot sauce before Tabasco and Edmund created the category". 

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With the hot sauce category exploding in the last decade though, the category has literally become a red sea of similar messaging and tactics  

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The red ocean is very obvious in the sauce aisle. Most of the products are bright red with strong pepper imagery. 


There is also this competition to see who is the spiciest and again use bright and bold colors to show that. The machismo factor can be seen here with product comparisons to fire and combustion. 

Game Day

These sauces are also associated with a lot of unhealthy "game day" food like wings where people are encouraged to douse the food in heat. 


Hot sauces are usually shown with indulging foods and create product extensions inspired by indulgence: ice cream, cars, chocolate, champagne, donuts, candy, and more. 

Recipe Inspiration 

On every hot sauce site you will find a section dedicated to recipes. We see this in a lot of the digital ads. 


Mostly it is shown as a food topping and not the centerpiece of a meal. Used as a more of an enhancer. 

The global hot sauce has been booming and expected to keep growing and we are seeing exponential growth, especially in the U.S. with the market projected to be $3.77 billion by 2025  

We are seeing brands stepping out the category and trying to be disruptive.

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Tasbasco may be number one in the world and be in more places than McDonalds but on it's home turf it is still lagging behind

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Looking at culture we saw four types of "hot sauce" people 

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The "born and raised" 

America is not known for spicy cuisine, but it is catching up to the rest of the world. Those who grow up eating hot foods have built up a tolerance to spice. It's a lifelong journey that can start during childhood.

Culturally, there’s a stigma against people with very low tolerances to spice. Their low tolerance may lead people to conclude that they lack commitment and dedication.

The "hobbyist"

How many fridges do you own? Is there one solely for your hot sauces? Some of the 75k+ people in the reddit hot sauce community need a special place for their collection.

People are making their own hot sauce, attending hot sauce expos, and watching their favorite celebrities interviewed while suffering through the spiciest of wings. It’s mainstream. This trend reveals people are excited about new ways to enjoy spice.

The "healthy eaters"

In the midst of the pandemic, many are reprioritizing their health.
As a result, one of the biggest global trend drivers this year is wellness, as people around the globe seek to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

In a congested market, consumers want a fresh approach to health and added benefits in products they already enjoy.

The Opportunity and Strategy:

With culture changing and people getting into hot sauce more Tabasco can help create cultural change and innovation in the category through these three strategies 

Spice is a skill that can be learned

Learning to like spice takes time, patience, and practice. Tabasco can step away form the extreme heat audience and be more approachable. We want to get the message across that spice is for everyone and has nothing to do with genetics or culture but rather practice.  Tabasco can embrace the motto "the strong do it once, but the brave do it everyday" and help change their mindset and behavior when it comes to their affinity towards spice. 

Tabasco is at the global table

We want to tell people how Tabasco got on the global table through telling Tabasco's story and it became loved worldwide. The global trade is a metaphor for the most notorious and ubiquitous food items in history. We want people to use their imaginations to help them understand the company's journey.  

Tabasco starts your day 

There are proven health benefits of incorporating hot sauce into your diet, but it usually isn't involved in breakfast foods as much. It can help clear mental fog, provide a burst of physical energy with convenience and ease. It also helps to stimulate blood flow and release endorphins to make you happy. Tabasco naturally give you the readiness to start your day and put it where people need readiness the 

Cultural Story

It's not genetics, it's practice


The Newbies 


Spice is for anyone willing to try 


Affinity for spice can be learned through repeated exposure 

Cultural Story

Personify Tabasco to follow its international travels 


The Dabblers


There's a reason they are at every table worldwide 


Buy the hot sauce loved globally 

Cultural Story

Proven health benefits are unknown or frequently forgotten


The Committed


Utilize the side effects of spice that give your body and brain a boost


Include hot sauce in the 

morning routine


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Tabasco mini-packs:

Can give people a way to slowly level up their spice tolerance 

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Work with Buzzfeed to set up a spice challenge and show that building up your spice tolerance is possible 


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The Adventures of Tico:

The mission to spread world peace also happens to spread the mythology of Tabasco. 

Traditional ad campaign, easily translated with voiceover to be an international brand spokesperson. Integrated with Tabasco brand on all owned media channels

Sponsor International organizations and events, such as the World Peace Forum

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Return to Tabasco's Roots: 

Originally bottled in cologne bottles in 1868, a limited edition perfume sprayer topper! Compatible with any bottle, this method makes it easier to share the love.


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Tabasco + Keurig Cups: 

For those looking for a pick-me-up or a simple shot of wellness, Tabasco K-cups are an invigorating mix of Tabasco, ginger, and lemon that  provides a gentle kick of vitamins and antioxidants.

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Tabasco Poppers: 

Inspired by the fruit pearls often found in teas and as a frozen yogurt topping, these poppers are filled with micro-doses of pure Tabasco.


These little poppers can be put into any beverage for a subtle kick of spice and can be added to any liquid drink. 


Shannon Gerety: Strategist

Alexandria Daniel: Strategist 

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