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Leander Paes headlines Old El Paso #messfreechallenge for Asia & Middle East

The Indian icon joins forces with fellow professional tennis players in international social media charity-centric movement which has donated over 55,000 Mexican meal products to disadvantaged families.

Old El Paso™ has teamed up with doubles legend Leander Paes to support a unique #messfreechallenge leveraging the power of social influence for good. The 18 time Grand Slam doubles champion puts Old El Paso Mess-Free Tortillas to the ultimate test in his #MessFreeChallenge video that he unveiled on his Instagram (@leanderpaes) and Twitter (@leander) accounts to his following of nearly 1.3 Mn. To mark the partnership, Paes and Old El Paso Middle East has donated 5,000 Mexican meal products to help feed the disadvantaged individuals in UAE.

Following on from the tennis stars in Australia and Europe, Paes figured out how to add his own personal signature via this challenge with an easy and original tip: holding an Old El Paso Tortilla Pocket while he tried some no-look no-spills volleys with a frying pan.

Launched by Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios and Old El Paso last month supporting his NK Foundation, the Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge received the support of several other tennis stars, elite athletes and Olympians in Australia and then around the globe starting with Australian Grand Slam champions Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur with Nick personally requesting his good friend and British sporting icon Sir Andy Murray to take the cause ‘global’ on the eve of the French Open, the last Grand Slam of the year that started a fortnight back in Paris. The challenge has subsequently been taken by leading Frenchman Gael Monfils and his partner, women’s world #5 Elina Svitolina, former women’s world #1 Garbine Muguruza from Spain, women’s world #10 Belinda Bencic from Switzerland among others with sports personalities in UK & Europe from other fields also expected to join.

Leander’s #MessFreeChallenge nomination comes via Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion and friend of Paes who attempted a mess-free abdominal crunch routine with the Tortilla Pockets.

Paes now sets the bar high with his different take on the challenge and now passes the baton to Latin American tennis star Monica Puig (@monicaace93) from Puerto Rico, the current women’s Olympic gold medallist, who like Paes is the nation’s only medallist in tennis.

According to Paes, who holds the record for the most doubles wins in the Davis Cup, ‘’I’m thrilled to have joined this amazing movement with a well-loved brand like Old El Paso, whose Mexican meals I always enjoyed back when I lived in America and even on tour-who doesn’t love a Taco Tuesday or Fajita Friday night? It’s been great fun being able to participate in the Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge and being part of something my fellow tennis players and other athletes have participated in while trying to keep it engaging and original. I’m looking forward to seeing the Latin touch that Monica brings and to continue the challenge for our tennis family but above all, it’s important to be a force for good and give back together like we are with Old El Paso through various food charities around the globe to help families in need during such moments of global uncertainty.”

Ali Shaikh, Commercial Director, Middle East and Africa of  General Mills said, “We’re honoured that a sporting icon like Leander Paes accepted the Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge to take it globally; he is a true role model with an incredible platform to amplify the challenge and we are grateful to him endorsing his support to a hugely important cause. This campaign is a real example of international sports stars coming together to be a force for good.”

An international social media challenge with an important charity element

The Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge is circling the world with some of the most socially influential tennis stars globally while addressing food insecurity by giving back over 55,000 Mexican meal products/kits to families in need across Europe, Australia and now the Middle East.

For its kick-off in Australia, Old El Paso partnered with the Nick Kyrgios Foundation to donate 10,000 Meal Kits via Foodbank Australia, with one additional meal kit donated for every share of the Nick Kyrgios’ challenge video on Instagram Stories up to another 10k meal kits. This was followed up in the UK with a pledge of 20,000 Old El Paso Mexican Meal Kits with Andy Murray to FareShare UK and then followed with another 15,000 Mexican meal products across Europe jointly with Gael Monfils,  Garbiñe Muguruza and Belinda Bencic with local food banks in France, Spain and Switzerland respectively Leander Paes is proud to support Old El Paso and the #MessFreeChallenge adding to the global movement with his donation of 5,000 Mexican meal products to help the underprivileged in need in the UAE.


Agency: Thinkerbell (Creative, earned media and influencer engagement strategy)

Production: Brightworks

Client: General Mills (Arjoon Bose, Bronwyn Cheng, Charlotte Stevens, Angela Martinelli, Audrey Noel, Daniel Gustavsson)

Talent Management: Tom Chapman, Stuart Duguid