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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Abuela Approved Content Series

Entered in TikTok Presence


To capitalize on the growing success of the El Pollo Loco TikTok channel and continue deepening relationships with the young Millennial and Gen Z consumers the brand aspires to reach, El Pollo Loco sought to create a unique, digital forward brand campaign that would introduce fresh content to the El Pollo Loco TikTok designed to entertain and attract new brand fans via the social media platform.

In the summer of 2022, El Pollo Loco introduced its TikTok audience to Abuela - a universally trusted source of approval in every Latin family - to authenticate their cuisine and give a fresh take on every buzzworthy pop culture moment. El Pollo Loco’s first-ever ‘Head Abuela in Charge’ helped influence and heighten brand awareness on El Pollo Loco’s TikTok channel through an authentic and meaningful creator connection.  

The goals of Abuela Approved were highly qualitative in nature, as the brand looked to connect with a TikTok audience by commenting on familiar subjects and family dynamics that viewers could laugh with and relate to. The campaign was centered on generating a fun, familiar sense of community and connection for followers and new brand fans alike. Rooted in insights that Gen Z consumers have a unique bond with their grandparents and a high percentage of Hispanic Gen Z consumers live in multigenerational households, the campaign was intended to act as a satirical mirror of the lives of so many young people today.

Strategy and Execution

Beginning in June 2022, “Abuela Approved” content directed by Mexican-American Gen Z creator Yubicela Brito rolled out via a series of TikTok posts which addressed timely pop culture moments, offered silly unsolicited advice from Abuela, and showcased Abuela’s favorite El Pollo Loco menu items. El Pollo Loco, Yubicela Brito and the production team searched far and wide for the perfect Abuela to cast for the content series. The brand knew it wanted to find an actor who evoked that comfort and joy that young people experience when they bond with their own grandparents. Beyond entertaining its audience, the content series came at a time socially when narrowing the generational gap felt imperative.

All content developed for the Abuela Approved TikTok series was captured during one production day in fitting locations across Los Angeles which mirrored environments viewers would often find their own grandparents. The series, comprised of 13 videos, was posted to the El Pollo Loco TikTok throughout the summer.

El Pollo Loco knew it was taking a risk in introducing El Pollo Loco’s TikTok audience to a completely new character and tone of voice. The premise for the content series was steeped in insights about what its audience cares about and their relationships with their grandparents, and El Pollo Loco was thoughtful to not make Abuela a caricature. Rather, the brand paid homage to all abuelas that its audience knows and loves. Our audience was broadly complimentary of our abuela and felt she brought a great sense of humor and light to their feeds.  


The Abuela Approved content series evolved how El Pollo Loco connects with its audience, tapping into familial dynamics and bringing a new form of cheeky relatability to the brand’s channel. TikTok continues to be a valuable medium for El Pollo Loco and Abuela Approved allowed for creativity and direct fan engagement to take center stage – ultimately fostering a sense of community online for new and existing El Pollo Loco fans and customers.  

This was the first-ever TikTok content series created by El Pollo Loco and to date it has garnered over 18 million impressions and over 11 million total video views. The series outperformed other campaigns from El Pollo Loco with paid support resulting in a 65.21% VTR. The campaign delivered 78% above benchmark and was the second-best performing campaign for El Pollo Loco to date.

The campaign even captured the attention of TikTok itself, with the company recently building a case study and highlighting the success of Abuela Approved in a company meeting.


Video for Abuela Approved Content Series

Entrant Company / Organization Name

El Pollo Loco


Entry Credits