Bursting With Success ~ Uncle Julio’s Chocolate Piñata

Exploring the Made from Scratch Marketing Strategy

When was the last time you had a memorable dessert experience? Not just a memorable dessert, but a true experience? If you can’t remember, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a Chocolate Piñata from Uncle Julio’s. That’s right, a Chocolate Piñata.

The Chocolate Piñata is a handmade creation from the culinary team at Uncle Julio’s. This made from scratch beauty is a chocolate ball stuffed with homemade churros and seasonal fruit, complemented by a trio of homemade dipping sauces and fresh whipped cream.

And if you’ve ever wanted to be the center of attention, ordering one of these masterpieces is sure to invite plenty of attention. Remember, it’s not often you see a dangling ball of beautifully decorated chocolate make its way across a restaurant. Once delivered, guests receive a special mallet to smash their piñata and unlock its delicious fillings. It really is the perfect group dessert, as everyone rushes to find their favorite bits (churros for us!).

Building the Marketing Strategy

When it came time to market this little wonder, we had three things working for us:

  • The Chocolate Piñata is unique
  • The Chocolate Piñata is sociable
  • The Chocolate Piñata is made from scratch

The Chocolate Piñata is Unique

The marketer’s dream! A product that stands out on its own. We can safely say that compared to almost any dessert, the Chocolate Piñata is guaranteed to grab plenty of attention with its mere presence. With this attained, it was our job to highlight the unique nature of the product, both in its form and in the experience it delivers. We created messaging, TV spots, and social posts aimed at heightening the experience and the wonder the Chocolate Piñata delivers. We made it very clear: this is a one of a kind dessert that you’ll be talking about for days.

Our Approach: Don’t get in its way. It may sound silly and a bit elementary, but our number one job was to let the product speak for itself. We used large, bold imagery whenever possible because this is a bold product. We wanted everyone to see it because we knew that by looks alone, it was something that would stop you, and then entice you to try it.

The Chocolate Piñata is Sociable

The Chocolate Piñata was built for the world of social media. When every meal seemingly begins by taking a picture of it, the Chocolate Piñata provides a true photo-op, which is all you could ever ask for in the world of Facebook and Instagram. Beyond that, smashing videos instantly started infiltrating the space as people everywhere proudly shared their smashing videos. In a social world filled with images of food, the Chocolate Piñata provides real stopping power. In a word, it’s disruptive.

Instagram Chocolate PinataOur Approach: We examined the social space as a unique opportunity. We cut videos specifically for Facebook and Instagram, but then expanded after seeing their initial success. Our social campaign was built to convey the excitement of the product and its place as the center of a great night out with friends. We also noticed the organic success and reach of our user’s posts. Seeing this phenomenal engagement from customers, we decided to create an Instagram based, Smash & Win contest that revolves around social videos. We’ve had hundreds of entries so far.

The Chocolate Piñata is Made from Scratch

When a brand introduces a flagship product, the product must do two things: wow people and marry up to the brand’s values and mission statement. For Uncle Julio’s that mission revolves around made from scratch. From the fillings to the sauces (and even the whipped cream), the Chocolate Piñata embodies made from scratch. That’s one of the big reasons that even though it may be imitated, it can never be duplicated.

 Our Approach: It was our job to convey how the Chocolate Piñata is the epitome of Uncle Julio’s made from scratch mission. We highlighted the ingredients (homemade churros, fresh seasonal fruit), as well as the dipping sauces, as it is almost all completely homemade. Even the whipped cream is homemade, something we were quick to convey. This took it from being an interesting dessert to something Uncle Julio’s can be proud of in its entirety. They made something great and they made it their way. We never forgot the importance of this.

The Marketing Strategy

The culmination of this was an integrated campaign that focused on social and video. We first launched social video in the Dallas market and achieved almost instantaneous success. The videos were well received, the stores experienced increases in sales. We knew we had something when we saw user-generated videos and local news stories receiving hundreds of likes across social media.

Uncle Julio’s then challenged us to improve sales in the DC market. We decided to blitz the market by leveraging and pushing the existing campaign further, a move that paid off far beyond our wildest expectations. We ran TV spots, digital video, display banners, and retargeting ads in a concerted effort to drive demand for the Chocolate Piñata and increase the exposure of Uncle Julio’s in this saturated market. It’s been a huge win, as sales and traffic are up significantly versus year ago.

It’s a beautiful, delicious, smashing success, and we couldn’t be prouder.