- Taco Bell and Microsoft's Xbox hosted a pop-up video arcade in Seattle from Sept. 1-2 to promote the Xbox One X gaming console and the Steak Quesarito $5 Box, according to a press release.
- The arcade featured classic video games from arcades past as well as the new Xbox One X experience. It was timed to coincide with PAX West, a major gaming convention.
- The promotion was accessible by reservations made through a special number. Those who managed to snag a seat at the arcade received a Taco Bell $5 Box with a code to text in for the chance to win an Xbox One X around every 10 minutes during the two-day activation.
By featuring classic video games along with newer offerings at the branded arcade, Taco Bell and Xbox are tapping into consumers' nostalgia for pop culture past, with a feel reminiscent of the '70s and '80s, in particular. The brands aren't alone in wanting to mine their target audience's strong fondness for this type of retro-flavored marketing: In June, W Hotels released a branded 2-D game that served as an homage to the arcade staple "Frogger." Timing the release of the Xbox arcade around PAX West likely attracted the interest of video game enthusiasts young and old.
The limited-run arcade experience with Xbox isn't the first time Taco Bell has turned to reservations to give its pop-up activations an air of exclusivity and V.I.P. access. Earlier this month, the Yum! Brands chain allowed consumers to book seats through OpenTable for the chance to try out its Naked Egg Taco before the menu item was available nationwide. In April, it also opened the doors to its secretive Test Kitchen at its headquarters in Irvine, CA, to just 32 hungry patrons.
By tying in a mobile component to these real-world pop-ups, Taco Bell manages to get diners excited to share their experience on social media, generating positive organic chatter and brand awareness. While previous Taco Bell pop-ups have had a hashtag attached to them, the Seattle activation instead brings a promotional contest into the fold.