"So what's it gonna take? Silver shadow believer..." -Shiny Toy Guns

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Sauce

As I reflect on this past summer, I also must announce that I was laid off from work. My time at this agency was spent amongst seasoned professionals who guided and helped me to acknowledge my strengths. I feel fortunate and will miss everyone I worked with, as we all part ways on different paths.
I will never forget when I interviewed with them, one of the requirements was to write an argumentative essay and turn it in by 7pm the following day. I was to choose a stance and persuade my readers to take my viewpoint. The subject matter was up for grabs and I was incredibly nervous and indecisive about what to write about. I asked friends who suggested heavy duty things like "capital punishment" and "the war on terror," but I need something I was passionate about so I wrote about my favorite hot sauce, Tapatio:

Tap into Tapatio
Tapatio is a superior hot sauce, much better than the more widely accepted, Tabasco Sauce. When dining in a restaurant, ask the waiter for “hot sauce” and Tabasco is generally what will be served. Often it’s already out on the table, amongst the salt and pepper. Tabasco calls its product, “legendary.” Understandably, they have been around since 1868, but what about Tapatio? What about a sauce with perfect consistency and flavor? Tapatio is an excellent addition to just about any meal and is simply more cost efficient than Tabasco Sauce. “El Tap,” once only known for its use in Mexican style dishes, is now a household name and yet receives inadequate recognition.

Tabasco may be the most well known hot sauce with the longest run, but Tapatio is by far the tastiest. It’s stronger, spicier, and possesses a smokier flavor, with a hint of garlic. It’s a better condiment, a thicker and more substantial sauce, and can even hold its own on a tortilla chip, oyster or cocktail shrimp. Tabasco is weak sauce – of thin consistency, sweet in taste, combined with an overwhelming flavor of vinegar. Vinegar, unless sprinkled on a salad or fish & chips, is a flavor that tends to compete with the taste of food.

Tapatio works in conjunction with food, joining forces to produce the delectable. It holds its own quite nicely and serves as an excellent additive for cooking as well. Originally, El Tap was just applied in preparing foods like burritos and tacos, but now runs the gamut in many different styles of cuisine. It is delicious in soups, casseroles, and sauces; and because of its thicker stature it blends better than Tabasco sauce. Cooking requires creativity and Tapatio adds flair to eggs, pizza, sandwiches, and hamburgers. It is even superb for doctoring up garlic bread, Top Ramen, a bowl of popcorn, or a Bloody Mary.

While there are many uses for hot sauces and specific recipes that call for them, another benefit that sets Tapatio apart from the rest is its price. It is extremely affordable, much less expensive than Tabasco sauce. In a price comparison, recently conducted at Lucky’s Grocery Store, a 5 oz. bottle of Tabasco (the big size) goes for roughly $4.59; a 5 oz. bottle of Tapatio is only $0.77. Their 10 oz. bottle is $1.17 and their jumbo, 32 oz. size is only $3.19. It’s a no-brainer; save a couple bucks for a much better buy.

Shall we settle the score? Developed in Louisiana, Tabasco was the first hot sauce and upholds a good reputation, but that doesn’t mean it is the best choice. Tapatio was only founded 37 years ago, here in California, and yet has surpassed Tabasco’s value by proving to be a stronger and more flavorful sauce. It has demonstrated that it works just as well, if not better, with various types of food, while cooking, on snacks, and in beverages. Lastly, Tapatio has established itself as the low price leader. It is said that, “the secret is in the sauce,” but Tapatio’s excellence will not stay quiet for long. Look out Tabasco; it’s only a matter of time before Tapatio gets the respect it deserves.

Too funny to reread it, almost two years later, there are so many things I would add now. Needless to say, I got the job. It was to ensure I could meet deadlines and that I wasn't an idiot, I think. But, it turned out to include consumer insights about the category, competing brands, and price comparison and would later pave the way for me to participate in new business. When I was hired, the Managing Director said, "You have two qualities I just can't teach someone: you're smart and you can write. You can learn the rest and while you work here, you will live and breathe advertising." And I did. Luckily, my time out of work has been short. I recently received a position at a very smart agency in San Francisco doing social media again. The people are nice, the clients exciting, and I am working alongside my former colleagues who were kind enough to recommend me.

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