Media Post: Qdoba’s Queso Quest

September 12, 2011

When I think of famous Chicago foods, I think of deep-dish pizzas, hot dogs and Italian beef. Will these foods, and other random eats, taste better or worse when smothered with Qdoba Mexican Grill’s 3-cheese Queso?

The only way to find out is to travel the city in a food truck stocked with nothing but Qdoba’s 3-cheese Queso and driven by Joey Dundale, an up-and-coming Chicago comedian with a legitimate love of Queso.

The truck made its debut at Wrigleyville on Aug. 30 and will troll the streets of Chicago through September.

The Queso Quest allows Chicago residents to track Dundale on his adventures and convince him to stop by their neighborhoods.

The Queso Quest Web site shows a Google Maps grid of Chicago, highlighting the places Dundale has visited, the locations of Qdoba restaurants, where the truck is currently located and places where Qdoba coupons can be found. As I write this, there are 30 coupons left at Soldier Field. For those who don’t feel like schlepping to a disclosed location to grab a coupon, if you share one of Dundale’s videos on Facebook, a free coupon awaits and you don’t have to leave the house.

Fans can also suggest food items via Twitter, sending tweets to Dundale’s Twitter handle, @QuesoJoey, and including the hashtag, #queso.

Amalgamated created the campaign and Stink Digital built the Web site. The videos, directed by Jun Diaz, are quite funny.

Dundale pairs queso with another food, then scouts the city for someone with an adventurous palate. In one video, he takes queso and rattlesnake hot dogs to a used car salesman. The combination of foods goes well and Dundale tapes an impromptu car commercial for the dealership. See it here.

Curious about how queso and pickles taste, Dundale crashes a date to find his answer. Hint: Dundale already hates pickles. Watch it here.

When queso is combined with caviar, the food truck is temporarily ditched for something classier: a horse-drawn carriage. But how will the food taste? See it here.

“Queso Quest presented a unique challenge for us,” said Paul Aaron, Director of Interactive for Amalgamated. “We were asked to increase awareness and sales of Qdoba in a nurturing market. Given the budget, our geographic target, and our task at hand, digital felt like the best way in. But beyond that, we wanted to do something that would get people in the Chicago area talking about us.”

The Queso Quest took roughly one month for Amalgamated to develop and set into action.

“Social is a huge part of the Queso Quest,” continued Aaron. “We’re on Twitter at all hours updating people on our locations, and really just engaging and conversing with Joey’s fans. We’re supporting this by doing some paid advertising on Twitter.”

For those with food always on their mind, like me, how did Dundale snare such a fun gig? His obvious love of food. “We wanted someone who was earnest, hard-working, and would take the challenge of topping Chicagoan’s foods with Queso to heart,” concluded Aaron. “Plus he’s got an awkward charm that we found sort of endearing.”

-MediaPost, September 12, 2011