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Taco Bell further cements position in mobile via QR code campaign

Taco Bell is placing QR codes on its new 12-pack products as part of a 360-degree marketing campaign that includes mobile, radio, in-store signage, Web, television and social media.

Taco Bell has partnered with ESPN on the mobile bar code initiative, which is aimed at hungry football fans. Taco Bell is rolling out mobile bar codes on packs of tacos that let users access content about the upcoming Bowl Championship Series college football games.

?ESPN provides the best ongoing coverage of sports, and we wanted to provide our consumers a direct link to the highlights and insight of BCS games,? said Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, digital lead of brand experience at Taco Bell, Irvine, CA.

?The Taco 12 Pack already provides the perfect bowl game food, and the QR code allows Taco Bell?s partnerships with the BCS and ESPN to come alive through exclusive access to college football news,? she said.

Taco Bell is a mexican fast food chain that claims to serve 36.8 million consumers at 5,600 restaurants in the United States.

Crunchy content
The QR codes are placed on Taco Bell?s Taco 12 Pack products.

Next to each QR code is a blurb that explains to users what it does and how to use their mobile device to unlock content.

Users with a feature phone can also participate in the campaign by texting the keyword ESPN TACO BELL to the short code 76477 to receive a link to the content.

Once users scan the QR code or tap the SMS link, they are taken to the ESPN mobile site to watch video coverage of the BCS games, which is sponsored by Taco Bell.

The videos feature ESPN college football analyst Mark May and focus on four bowl games.

Users can watch game highlights and learn about specific teams via the mobile bar codes and share content via Facebook and Twitter.

The content changes weekly, which helps to build brand awareness and keep users engaged.

The QR code-enabled packages also incorporate social media by encouraging users to follow Taco Bell and ESPN on Twitter and Facebook.

Taco Bell is also running a television ad on ESPN that is aimed at men and encourages them to bring the company?s products to football watching parties.

Scan me in
This is not the first mobile bar code initiative from Taco Bell.

The chain recently partnered with MTV?s VMA Awards to give users who bought Taco Bell products award show-themed content (see story).

Taco Bell has also dabbled in mobile advertising, applications and a mobile Web site to expand its mobile reach.

By using a themed promotion, Taco Bell is able to leverage its packaging with a mobile call-to-action that is clear and explains to users exactly what a QR code does.

?The limited time BCS-themed Taco 12 Pack offers a dozen of Taco Bell?s classic, crunchy tacos along with exclusive content from ESPN to equip couch analysts throughout the BCS games,? Ms. Zarate-Bayani said.

?We are excited to connect directly with our fans, and QR codes have been an innovative and successful way to do so,? she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York