Inspiration Cafe in True North Story

Oscar winning actress Helen Hunt directed Frito-Lay’s TrueNorth® Nut Brand profile of Lisa Nigro, founder of Chicago’s Inspiration Café, in a commercial shown during the 2009 Academy Awards. The commercial is the first of a series linking the brand with the concept of “True North”, in which people discover and follow their true purpose in life.

Lisa Nigro in TrueNorth story

Lisa Nigro’s story was chosen out of 2,300 applications to be featured as the TrueNorth Story. In an essay written for the competition, Nigro told the story of how she founded the Inspiration Café in 1989 as a place in which homeless men and women could be served with dignity and respect, in a safe environment. In the years that followed, the Inspiration Corporation has expanded to include case management, supportive services, housing and a restaurant skills training program which collectively serve more than 2,500 individuals each year.

See more in the FritoLays TrueNorth press release.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The TrueNorth Story campaign was developed at Strawberry Frog, New York, by executive creative director Kevin McKeon, creative directors Josh Greenspan, Corinna Falusi, and agency producer Rob Farber.

Filming was shot by director Helen Hunt via Chelsea Pictures, Los Angeles and New York, with director of photography Peter Donahue, executive producers Allison Amon, Lisa Mehling, John LaChapelle, producer Jonathan Gribetz, production supervisor Helga Gruber.

Editor was Rob Watzke at Beast Editorial, Santa Monica and New York, with executive producers Valerie Petrusson, Joanne Ferraro, assistant editor Vic Barczyk.

Colorist was Fergus McCall at The Mill, New York. Online post was done by editor Jon Tamasello at Soul7, New York.

Music was composed by Jimmy Haun at Beta Petrol, Los Angeles, with executive producer Bryan Ray Turcotte, producer Ceinwyn Clark. Sound was mixed by Rex Recker at audioEngine, New York.