Taco Bell crowdsources fan ideas for time-loop Nacho Fries ad

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Taco Bell is using Twitter to crowdsource its next ad for Nacho Fries, the limited-run menu item sporadically offered by the fast food chain. Taco Bell started a thread of tweets on Jan. 18, calling for fans to submit ideas for the next Nacho Fries commercial using the hashtag #FriesChallenge.
  • Up to 20 entries will be selected through Jan. 24, and submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges based on creativity and relevance to the Taco Bell brand. On Jan. 19, the QSR announced it landed on a concept of a time loop story that shows the main character, Vanessa, and her best friend stuck in the same day.
  • The crowdsourced effort stokes excitement for the return of Taco Bell’s limited menu item and marks the first time the chain is developing a fan-created spot for its Nacho Fries.

Dive Insight:

The latest iteration of Nacho Fries’ marketing takes a unique approach in tapping social media to crowdsource the ad’s creative direction. The move casts a wider net than in past years by appealing to a swath of Taco Bell fans on Twitter, all the while encouraging them to engage with the brand via a dedicated campaign hashtag.

Taco Bell’s Live Más Productions unit has hyped Nacho Fries eight times since 2018 with campaigns that mimic Hollywood films, complete with over-the-top, star-studded trailers like this month’s effort will develop into.

Past marketing around the limited-run menu item — the most successful product launch in company history — have spanned a variety of popular film genres, including musical biopics, conspiracy-related dramas, dystopian thrillers and anime. In July 2021, the QSR spotlighted the return of Nacho Fries with an anime-style ad and digital comic tie-in inspired by the Japanese manga format. Last year’s installment, “Fry Force,” centered around an animated character named Rei, who leads an elite team of pilots in a battle against spice-loving monsters. The work was from agency Deutsch LA and animation studio Psyop and marked the first time Taco Bell took on an anime style in its marketing.

Shortly after the “Fry Force” ad for Nacho Fries debuted, Taco Bell named a culture agency of record to further tap into trends and build authentic connections with loyal fans. Agency Cashmere will also help to develop the chain’s cultural brand strategy over the long term.

Much of the interest around Taco Bell’s latest Nacho Fries promotion stems from the crowdsourced approach. As of press time, the Twitter thread had racked up nearly 1,000 likes and retweets, likely extending the campaign’s reach. It’s an innovative strategy to generate brand buzz, social media engagement and develop fresh ideas for new creative — all before the ad is ever released.

The Nacho Fries campaign arrives just weeks after Taco Bell announced a subscription-style Taco Lover’s Pass that for $10, gives fans one taco per day for 30 days. Like the week-long Twitter thread crowdsourcing ideas for the next Nacho Fries ad, the new Taco Lover’s Pass is intended to get fans to engage with the brand and its menu items long term.

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