- Taco Bell is launching the Ambition Accelerator, a program that seeks to help young people make change in their communities and around the world, according to a press release. The effort is a partnership with Chief Impact Officer Lil Nas X, the Taco Bell Foundation and social entrepreneurship nonprofit Ashoka.
- Residents of the U.S. and U.S. territories aged 16 to 26 are able to submit ideas for how to tackle society's most pressing issues through July 21, with a chance to receive mentorship, up to $25,000 in funding and a trip to Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California, to pitch their ideas. Both consumers and Taco Bell employees are encouraged to participate.
- The purpose-driven effort will focus on challenges that impact people of diverse backgrounds and identities, including those who are Black, Latinx, LGBTQ, women or members of other underrepresented groups. The program is funded by parent company Yum! Brands' Unlocking Opportunity Initiative.
Taco Bell is looking to help young people — especially those from diverse backgrounds — solve societal issues with the Ambition Accelerator, a purpose-driven effort that uses the power of its brand, its foundation and a like-minded nonprofit. To bring more attention to the program, the QSR chain is again teaming with pop star and former Taco Bell employee Lil Nas X, who the brand gave the honorary title chief impact officer in August 2021.
The Ambition Accelerator is being presented as a continuation of the brand's activities around culture, from embracing trends to breaking conventions. For years, Taco Bell has worked to increase its cultural footprint, even going so far as to hire an agency of record specifically focused on culture. As being a part of consumer culture has become an imperative for QSR and CPG brands, Taco Bell's purpose-driven effort recognizes the need to tackle political and cultural issues — including climate change and social justice — that are important to younger consumers.
"For the past 60 years, we've not only focused on craveable and accessible food, but strived to enact change and drive creativity in our team members and our fans," Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell and vice chairman of the Taco Bell Foundation Board of Directors, said in a statement. "The Ambition Accelerator is yet another way that we're celebrating innovative thinking with accessibility at the core, and I'm excited to hear the bold ideas of our next generation."
Not only does the Ambition Accelerator look to solve societal issues by boosting the efforts of young people, but it also puts a premium on the efforts of people from underrepresented groups who face additional obstacles to making change. A focus on diversity and inclusion aligns with industry-wide efforts to improve representation in advertising and beyond. For example, McDonald's USA last week launched Spotlight Dorado, a multiyear platform designed to showcase and advocate for Latino talent in Hollywood.
Taco Bell is seeking input from both consumers and its employees, who the brand has worked to incorporate in its marketing and branding efforts. The chain recently planned a drag show tour of its Cantina locations, a concept that came out of LGBT employee resource group Live Más Pride.