Taco Bell Tuesday

No research, straight to the monkey.

Taco Bell letting customers drive ideas: OK, remember my vaguely paranoid post from July outlining my suspicion that someone in Taco Bell’s marketing department reads this blog? Remember how I pointed out that the dude whose story was featured in one of the first Doritos Locos Tacos commercials was a friend of loyal reader/commenter Catsmeat’s, and that the first “significant discovery event” on his video’s YouTube page was being embedded on TedQuarters? Check out this quote from Taco Bell Chief Marketing Officer Brian Niccol:

The way we thought about launching it was, What’s the story? We wouldn’t have sold 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in ten weeks if all we did was say, It’s a new product and you’re going to love it because it’s now made with Doritos. We really listened in a different way for this program, to what people were tweeting and saying on Facebook. And that’s how we got our launch execution. We found out this kid drove 900 miles to Ohio get a hold of a DLT during the market testing, and it became inspiration for the commercial….

With the DLT we’ve proven to ourselves that if you can let go of some of the control, then good things can happen. And that’s changed things here at the office. Since the the DLT success, we’ve knocked down three conference rooms and created a new social-mobile listening room, where we’ve got the largest TV screens I’ve ever seen keeping track of what people are saying about our brand every day and everywhere.

Taco Bell has “the largest TV screens [Taco Bell CMO Brian Niccol has] ever seen keeping track of what people are saying” about Taco Bell online. Which means…. HELLO, PEOPLE OF TACO BELL! THANK YOU FOR READING TEDQUARTERS ON YOUR GIANT SCREEN! PLEASE INCORPORATE CRUNCHY RED STRIPS INTO MORE THINGS!

So, you know, my suspicions grow. I will be pretty miffed if Taco Bell rolls out the interactive design-your-own-menu-item interface I’ve been pitching since 2009 (and outlined again during my campaign for the job eventually given to Niccol) without at least giving me face-time in the commercials. I have experience!

Seriously, Taco Bell: It’s love. It’s all love. If you’re out there reading, know that I am a reasonably smart guy who spends a lot of time thinking about Taco Bell. We can make this work for both of us, I’m certain.

Denver-area Taco Bell apparently popular among hookers: There’s plenty to enjoy in Jenn Wohletz’s experiential column on trying the new Taco Bell menu items at a Taco Bell on East Colfax Ave. in Denver, but nothing quite jumps off the page to a Denver outsider like her note that at 7 p.m. the Taco Bell in question “was ringed with a circus of homeless people, hustlers and a couple of angry-looking hookers.”

I followed up with a Denver native and asked, “What do you know about the area around E. Colfax Ave. in Denver?” He replied, “Full of hookers.” So it seems to make sense that some of the more sensible hookers would find their way to the Taco Bell, since obviously hookers need to eat, too.

In my experience, there is little to no correlation between seediness and quality in Taco Bells. Some of the best and worst Taco Bells I’ve ever been to have been in the sketchiest places, and some of the best and worst have been in the nicest areas. Case by case thing.

Taco Bell makes glorious return to Sedalia, Mo.: I hate to profile here, but Sedalia Democrat columnist Travis McMullen looks like the type of dude who thinks critically about Taco Bell (and it takes one to know one). So when he expounds upon why the local Taco Bell developed a much more dedicated and vocal following than competing fast food locations in the area, I suggest we listen.

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