Each year thousands of people descend upon Austin, TX for the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival of music, film and interactive design. While SXSW in itself is the destination it’s host town is not something that any festival goer should miss out. Austin’s slogan of “Keep Austin Weird” celebrates the diverse ethnic backgrounds as well as the fabulous mergers of the artistic worlds – something that is evident no matter where you travel within the city. SXSW’s jammed packed schedule doesn’t really afford the festival goer much time to go out side of the festival limits and explore Austin’s quirky, fun loving nature so one design firm in Austin took it upon themselves to help these visitors get a true taste of Austin.
Tocquigny is a digitally-minded creative agency based out of Austin, TX and this year at SXSW they invited visitors to hop aboard the Tocquigny Taco Truck and explore the local taco joints outside of the festival limits providing them with awesome eats and a unique perspective on Austin’s culture. Recently we sat down with Prentice Howe, Tocquigny’s vice president and executive creative director to talk about the their firm, the Taco Truck, and how this yummy idea came to be!
Tell us a little about Tocquigny — What’s your motto? What’s your firm’s design style? I bet our readers are wondering how exactly do you say Tocquigny’s name? What’s the story behind it?
The most simplistic, and perhaps too general description of Tocquigny is that we’re a marketing and advertising agency, working with highly measured brands for the digital age. The more colorful, more fun, and maybe more accurate description is we are data nerds with a campfire soul. We love metrics but we’re also big believers in creating authentic, sustainable stories that inspire. So with that in mind, we pride ourselves on being design chameleons, always adapting to a particular brand voice. Yvonne Tocquigny founded the agency in 1980. The name rhymes with martini. And zucchini. And bikini.
Tacos seem to play a big part in your company from Breakfast Taco Mondays to your SXSW Taco Tour Truck – what’s the significance behind your love of tacos?
We were born and raised in Austin so, yes, if it’s wrapped in a tortilla, we’re pretty satisfied. This love affair with tacos is even written into our company manifesto. They power our workday. And it starts every Monday morning at our All Hands meeting where we chow down on some of our favorite menu items from Tacodeli. The Otto and The Vaquero top the list.
What gave you all the idea for Tocquigny’s SXSW Taco Tour Truck?
Our VP of Media & Planning, Colin, had been holding onto the idea for a few years: allow SXSW attendees to escape for an hour and experience a side of Austin they wouldn’t typically taste. To me, it was a great concept that deserved to be executed. And the way it unfolded just underscored that notion that, at Tocquigny, creative isn’t a department, it’s a mindset.
What was the best part about hosting the Taco Tour Truck? Did your staff get to run it?
We have 40 people working, and having fun at Tocquigny, and everyone here was involved in the Tocquigny Taco Tour. We’re a family, and we all know families eat together. Well, at Tocquigny, we also like to plan events centered around eating. Some teammates tended to daily meetings at city hall to navigate through the maze of permitting issues while others scoured the internet for lightweight, breathable taco suits. It was a testament to our awesome culture.
What has become of the Taco Truck now that SXSW is over? Will it be back at SXSW next year?
The truck has been retired but the giant 3D taco from the front of the bus lives on in our office. Fabricating that artwork was no small feat. I justified the expense by saying we’ll use it again, year after year. So yes, we anticipate the Taco Tour will be back and better than ever next year. If you’re heading to SXSW next year, be sure to check out our site to learn where the Taco Tour will be so you can secure your spot on the bus!
For those of us that like to travel and eat – what’s the best kept taco secret in Austin?
The breakfast taco is the most important taco of the day. Pick up a copy of Austin Breakfast Tacos on Amazon. It’s illuminating.
Need more food for thought? Check out Scott Lerman’s book on Building Better Brands to find out how you can take your brand to the next level buy infusing your corporate culture into your brand, just like Tocquigny did with their Taco Truck! Available now at MyDesignShop.com!