Savor the Authenticity: Roberto’s Taco Shop Print Ad Campaign

Discover how a small Mexican fast food joint cooked up a storm with a daring print ad campaign. By highlighting the authenticity of its authentic Mexican chefs, the campaign generated buzz, increased traffic, and boosted sales by 15%.

About Roberto’s Taco Shop

Established in 1964, Roberto’s Taco Shop is a beloved, family-owned Mexican fast food restaurant nestled in the heart of Oceanside, CA. Known for its genuine Mexican cuisine prepared by chefs directly from Mexico, Roberto’s commitment to traditional recipes and authentic flavors sets it apart from its larger, well-known counterparts.

Project Overview

As a creative consultant, I was tasked with promoting Roberto’s Taco Shop and helping it gain traction over local and larger Mexican food restaurants, all with a minimal budget. The challenge was to position Roberto’s as the go-to destination for authentic Mexican cuisine in a highly competitive Southern California market.


In the saturated Southern California Mexican food scene, convincing locals to choose Roberto’s Taco Shop over established competitors required a unique and memorable approach. With a limited budget, traditional advertising methods were out of the question. We needed to find a way to showcase Roberto’s authenticity and stand out from the crowd.


Through research, we discovered an intriguing fact about Roberto’s Taco Shop: the high turnover rate of its employees, mostly due to their immigration status. Rather than shying away from this potentially sensitive topic, we decided to embrace it as a testament to the restaurant’s authenticity.

We developed a playful, yet thought-provoking print ad campaign that leveraged the narrative of Roberto’s genuine Mexican chefs. The campaign featured three mini-posters with bold, attention-grabbing headlines and visuals:

1. A close-up of a U.S. Border Patrol patch with the headline: “Mexican food so authentic, the competition can’t wait to get their hands on our cooks.”

2. A car with a Mexican license plate and an open trunk, with the headline: “To prove how authentic our Mexican food is, we’d like to show you where we get our cooks.”

3. A “Resident Alien” card on a stainless steel cooking prep table, with the headline: “Mexican food so authentic, every cook comes with a certificate of authenticity.”

4. A one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Mexico sitting on a table with the headline: “We guarantee our Mexican food to be 100% authentic, or we’ll send the cooks back.”

Each poster featured Roberto’s logo and the tagline: “So Good, It Should Be Illegal.”

We launched these mini-posters throughout the local community, posting them at beaches, surf shops, and local schools. The campaign’s humorous and daring approach attracted attention and sparked conversations, generating buzz for Roberto’s.

[logo] American Diabetes Association
Border Patrol Agent
One-way bus ticket to Mexico laying on a worn red table
Looking at the rear of a car with the trunk open and Mexico license plate
One-way Greyhound bus ticket to Mexico laying on a wood table

Photos of Roberto’s Taco Shop #13 located at 1209 Hill Street, Oceanside, CA. Circa 1990

The Results

The print ad campaign exceeded all expectations, generating a surge in restaurant traffic and creating a lasting impression on the community. Word-of-mouth about the posters led to a feature story in a local surfing magazine, further amplifying the campaign’s reach.

The demand for the posters grew so strong that Roberto’s Taco Shop had to initiate a second printing, as patrons began requesting copies or taking them home for display. According to the client, the increased brand awareness and customer loyalty resulting from the campaign contributed to a 15% boost in sales.

By embracing its unique story and authenticity, Roberto’s Taco Shop not only stood out in a crowded market but also forged a deeper connection with its community. The print ad campaign demonstrated the power of creativity, humor, and truth in advertising, even with a minimal budget.