- Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg has been named the She Runs It 2017 Woman of the Year, as announced in a press release. Thalberg signed on as Taco Bell's chief engagement officer in 2015 and was elevated to the lead marketing role just eight months later.
- Thalberg stood out as an innovative "intrapreneur" that's been able to translate Taco Bell's irreverent spirit into brand marketing, according to Lynn Branigan, president and CEO, She Runs It, who also highlighted Thalberg's championing of women in the industry via initiatives like Executive Moms.
- She Runs It pointed to marketing experiences that Thalberg led the charge on, including branded Snapchat lenses, emojis and animated Twitter responses, along with turning Taco Bell into a Las Vegas destination wedding venue.
Taco Bell has evolved into a formidable digital presence with a strong cult fandom under Thalberg's tenure, helping propel her name to the top of the industry conversation. A Taco Bell Snapchat lens rolled out for Cinco De Mayo last year became one of the top campaigns in the app's history and is frequently cited as a strong use case of how brands can go viral on Snapchat. More recently, Taco Bell savvily leveraged Instagram micro-influencers to promote new menu items like the Naked Chicken Chalupa.
Even as Thalberg received praise for digitally-focused initiatives, she's also noted that the channel brought her brand down some "garden paths," and that Taco Bell will ramp up spending on more traditional TV this year. Beyond TV marketing, Taco Bell has become well-known for physical activations and events including a New York Speakeasy and the Vegas wedding destination.
Other recent changes at Taco Bell include bringing its restaurant marketing in-house using an internal design studio for store merchandizing, packaging and artwork for the restaurants.