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Taco Bell builds narrative for new Doritos Locos Tacos via Snapchat Stories

Taco Bell turned to Snapchat yesterday to introduce the new Doritos Locos Tacos via a series of images that ran throughout the day leading up to the MTV Movie Awards, culminating in a complete narrative.

The fast food chain is leveraging Snapchat Stories, which link Snaps together to create a narrative. The snap-by-snap live film, which Taco Bell says is the first-ever brand effort to leverage Snapchat stories, revealed the next DLT flavor, Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, and its arrival date on May 1.

?Our fans told us they wanted to see Taco Bell on Snapchat, so we first leveraged the app in 2013 to announce that a Limited Time Offer was coming back,? said Nick Tran, digital marketing and social media lead at Taco Bell. ?It made so much sense to share the news through a limited time message.

?That experience showed us that people enjoy Snaps when they are endemic to the platform and tell an authentic story,? he said. ?For the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch DLT, we wanted to innovate a step further and decided to do something new within Snapchat, leveraging the Stories feature to create a film that our fans can enjoy.

?We really felt this was a way to take our storytelling to a new level on this platform.?

Loyal customers
For the effort, Taco Bell invited consumers to view the first Snapchat movie in real-time that tells the story of a personal assistant who is tasked to find out what the new DLT is for his boss.

Snaps began appearing Sunday morning, revealing the latest incarnation of the menu item. The snaps also linked together to create a romantic comedy film for Taco Bell fans featuring actors and directed by Jason Zada.

Users needed to add "Tacobell" on Snapchat and had 24 hours to view the movie in its entirety starting at 5 pm PST on April 13.

The full Snapchat film was completed by the start of the MTV Movie Awards last night, when the official information on the next Doritos Locos Tacos became available.

The MTV Movie Awards served as the backdrop to the movie, letting the audience see some fun integration during the red carpet of the show.

The  movie was also promoted on Twitter and Instagram, with consumers seeing moments from the movie.

Snapchat Stories were introduced last year

?In general, any brand looking to reach the teen or young adult audience should be looking to leverage Snapchat in new and interesting ways,? said Leslie Hall, president and co-founder at Iced Media, New York.

?More specifically, as Snapchat evolves from exclusively being positioned as a peer-to-peer communication platform to a marketing vehicle, it's important for ambitious brands to experiment with the latest features and functionality, to create a foundation for best practices,? she said. ?The Snapchat ?Stories? feature is a great tool for brands, because it allows marketers to weave together moments to create a visual narrative.

?Moreover, this particular activation seems to be a great way to engage a qualified audience of movie-interested young adults whom will be watching the MTV Movie Awards who can screen the Taco Bell short-form movie via second-screen on Snapchat simultaneously. Snapchat is certainly a vehicle for real-time communication among peers, so it makes sense that a real-time live film would be premiered on the channel as well.?

Reaching millennials
Snapchat was initially released in 2011 and has grown to be a widely popular messaging app, especially among teens and millennials.

Within the app, users can take pictures and videos, add text and drawings on top and send them to their friends. Once their friends open these snaps, they have ten seconds before the snaps disappear.

While Snapchat has not attracted as many brands as Facebook or Twitter, it is a growing favorite among marketers trying to reach younger consumers.

Taco Bell was one of the first brands to join Snapchat, rolling out its first initiative last May with a campaign to announce the Beefy Crunch Burrito. The chain has also experimented with Snapchat to send random snaps to select followers.

The chain continues to leverage Snapchat because it finds the app a good way to engage with its most loyal customers.

The fast food chain claims to be the first-ever brand to use Snapchat Stories, which were introduced last fall.

During the holidays, Wet Seal had teen blogger MsMeghanMakeup take over the retailer?s Snapchat account, resulting in more than 6,000 views and a large audience growth during two weeks (see story).

Additionally, GrubHub ran week-long scavenger hunt in March where it posted a new story each day inviting users to take part in a daily challenge (see story).

?As all smart marketers do, Taco Bell is going directly where their millennial audience is currently engaging,? said Alexis Berger, vice president of marketing and Midwest sales at Kargo.

?Great marketing is built around beautiful creative, strong content, and delivering a message to the right audience at the right time,? she said. ?Mobile is clearly an effective marketing channel for Taco Bell given the rising addiction, specifically with millennials, to ones device. 

?While Snapchat may not be an effective channel for all brands, in Taco Bell's case, utilizing this social platform to hit their marketing objectives is a no-brainer.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York