What began as a social media campaign for the launch of Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets™ in Australia and then Europe spearheaded by Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray has turned into a global match between leading tennis players, and the winner is local food banks. While the ball has bounced around the world, it landed in North America with the #MessFreeChallenge being waged by U.S phenom and reigning Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin with her closing it out with a final challenge to her rival Polish teen sensation Iga Swiatek, the newly crowned Roland Garros women’s champion.
Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios began the #MessFreeChallenge last month that initially partnered with his NK Foundation as part of the launch of the Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets – a new product uniquely designed for mess-free Mexican mealtimes in Australia and Europe. Unveiling it to his Instagram and Twitter followers, Kyrgios launched his #MessFreeChallenge, showing how easy it is to play tennis one-handed while eating an Old El Paso Tortilla Pocket™. Kyrgios then challenged Aussie legend Lleyton Hewitt and later asked Andy Murray to ‘take it global’ and from there the competition soared, the tricks got crazier and the donations in each country took off, with 100,000 Old El Paso Mexican meal products/meals being donated to help local food banks and disadvantaged families across Australia, UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, UAE, Canada and USA.
While the competition is engaging for all these tennis stars and their fans, it is nothing compared to those around the world facing hunger every day.
“What started as a product launch in one market with a single tennis pro has grown into a star-studded world-wide tennis movement,” said Arjoon Bose, General Mills Head of Culture and Brand Experience for Europe & Australia “Following on from the popularity of the #MessFreeChallenge in Australia, Kyrgios rallied the tennis community from around the world starting with his good friend, the iconic Sir Andy Murray, to accelerate this purposeful campaign into an example of international athletes acting as a united force for good in their communities – all while having some fun one-upmanship and enjoying our amazing tortillas.”
Since Kyrgios started the challenge, tennis stars from Australia, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Croatia, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, India, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the U.S. have participated. Along with Kyrgios, Hewitt and Murray the other notable names from the tennis world included Grand Slam champions Sam Stosur and Garbine Muguruza, popular stars Gael Monfils, Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Benoit Paire & Genie Bouchard as well as Olympic champion Monica Puig, and doubles legend Leander Paes while also receiving support from Brits Heather Watson, Katie Swan, Emma Raducanu and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith finally closing out with two of the hottest names in women’s tennis, Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek.
2020 French Open Champion, Iga Swiatek, symbolically closed the challenge with a donation of 5,000 Mexican meal products to La Fédération Française des Banques Alimentaires, the major national food bank of France.
‘’I’ve followed the Old El Paso Mess Free Challenge since it first began with Nick Kyrgios followed by Andy Murray in Paris and couldn’t wait to get involved,” said Swiatek. “I had so much fun filming my challenge to Sofia but more importantly, it was a great opportunity to give back to those in need, especially during these challenging times. With the completion of 100,000 food donations around the world, this campaign is an example of the impact we can have when we come together as a united global tennis community. I’m grateful to Old El Paso for the opportunity to be a part of this campaign and humbled to close it out by giving back to families in France, a country that will always have a special place in my heart as the home of my first Grand Slam win.’’
The #MessFreeChallenge comes alongside the commitment of General Mills, its Foundation and brands to address hunger globally through support for food banks and other hunger relief programs.
Bose concluded, “As a global company, General Mills has the opportunity to make a difference in the communities that it serves. The Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge is a great example of a brand using its size and scale to help those most in need around the world while bringing moments of joy in these times with popular sports personalities.”