- Taco Bell will commemorate National Taco Day (Oct. 4) by giving out free tacos through several digital platforms, per details emailed to Marketing Dive. The QSR will run separate campaigns, developed with creative agency Deutsch LA, in the U.S. and international markets.
- In the U.S., Taco Bell will launch its own server on chat platform Discord, where it will crown a "taco champion" via a trivia campaign. The brand will also "raid" other Discord channels, giving away free tacos. Easter eggs on Reddit and across Taco Bell's other social channels will promote the chain's effort.
- The latest incarnation of the chain's marketing focus on National Taco Day includes an international push, with fans able to earn a free taco by messaging a taco emoji to a designated number. The number will be made available via QR codes and short URLs, available on out-of-home (OOH) ads and social media, respectively, that open consumers' messaging app, WhatsApp or SMS platform with a taco emoji pre-populated. Participants receive the special offer and a GIF after they send the message.
Taco Bell has turned National Taco Day into an occasion for marketing activations for years, and 2021's edition will use different tactics as the chain looks to make gains in the U.S. and international markets. While the approach differs between markets, what's consistent is the use of digital channels that continue to grow as pandemic-spurred behavior changes solidify and tie into consumer culture — a priority for a brand that recently named its first culture agency of record.
For its U.S. push, Taco Bell will make its debut on Discord, a chat platform with 150 million monthly active users, per details shared with Marketing Dive. Along with a taco trivia competition that will crown a "taco champion" — who will win free tacos and receive a special role on the server — Taco Bell will give out Taco Gifter meals across other servers on the platform, which has been tapped by brands including Jack in the Box, Hot Topic and rival Chipotle to engage with fans around "emergent culture."
By "raiding" other Discord servers, doling out Easter eggs via Reddit and promoting the activation on its owned social channels, Taco Bell can reach a wider group of consumers that spend time on a variety of popular social channels.
In international markets, Taco Bell's campaign is centered around the idea that while there are billions of smartphone users in the world, the "vast majority" have never eaten a taco despite having a taco emoji on their phone, according to the company. The effort uses QR codes and short URLs that reduce the friction of the activation and take into account the preferred devices and chat platforms of different countries. Along with pre-populating messages with emoji and delivering both gifts and GIFs, the campaign uses flexible design elements including typography and color palettes.
The messaging-focused effort is an extension of Taco Bell's larger "I See A Taco" campaign that launched in May as part of the chain's global push. The campaign is translated into five language and is launching in 23 markets, including Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Spain, Finland, Guatemala, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Romania, Sri Lanka, and the U.K.