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Volume 21 No. 2
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Taco Bell goes mobile with truck, activation

With a core demographic of males age 18 to 34, Taco Bell knows well that mobile is a key element of its marketing activation.

Brand: Taco Bell

Agency: Intersport

The goal: Deepening the brand’s connection to its core young, male consumer base, as well as drive sales of its football-themed Touchdown Box value meal.

Why it worked: “This is a brand that’s evolved digitally very quickly. They know their consumers readily embrace technology, so they’re there in a meaningful way.” — D.J. Koeller, Intersport account executive

The QSR chain this past winter sought to boost its partnership with the Bowl Championship Series and ESPN by rolling out several mobile extensions of its BCS-related marketing. In particular, the brand ran numerous mobile ads, particularly on ESPN sites and applications, promoting its football-themed value meal, the Touchdown Box. The $5 package came in two varieties and included a burrito, two tacos, cinnamon twists and drink, with the meal packaging itself convertible into a finger-football field.

“Our insight was to reach fans on the go and connect with them as they checked scoreboards for updates,” said Will Bortz, Taco Bell senior manager of public relations and sponsorships. “We know that mobile is becoming more of an extension of consumers’ everyday lives, and therefore it makes sense for us to have a presence with our sponsorships.”

Taco Bell’s mobile ads also redirect to optimized mobile websites that make store locator functionality a central component, with the clear aim of driving immediate in-store traffic.

Mobile additionally represents for Taco Bell a key means for its consumers to track the Taco Bell Truck. The company’s traveling purple truck traverses the country handing out free tacos, including at many Major League Baseball and BCS events to tie into those sponsorships. The Taco Bell Truck has its own twitter feed, @tacobelltruck, with more than 10,000 followers. The Twitter activation, frequently accessed via mobile devices, in turn represents part of a broader, aggressive social media strategy that includes a Facebook feed with more than 7 million fans.

“Many of these fans share their passion via mobile,” Bortz said of the social media executions. “We frequently look to our sports partners [in this area], as they are frequently on the cutting edge.”

— Eric Fisher