- Taco Bell is releasing a new breakfast taco with a shell made of fried egg called the Naked Egg Taco. To promote the menu item, the Yum! Brands chain will allow consumers in select cities to reserve a table at a Taco Bell location before the official debut on Aug. 31, according to a company news release. The release said the promotion, called "Bell & Breakfast," is a first for Taco Bell.
- Reservations for the Bell & Breakfast can be booked through OpenTable for an Aug. 17 brunch in New York City, with the event later hitting Laguna Beach, CA (Aug. 25), Austin, TX (Aug. 26) and Chicago (Aug. 27), per the release. Those eager to try the new offering can follow the promotion on social media with the hashtag #NakedEggTaco.
- In related marketing news, Frito-Lay's Cheetos' experimental pop-up restaurant The Spotted Cheetah, located in New York City, proved a success before its three-day run even began yesterday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The activation sold out all of its around 300 reservation spots in advance. Celebrity chef Anne Burrell oversaw a menu of items that include the orange-coated cornmeal snack as a key ingredient like Cheetos-infused meatballs and grilled cheese with tomato soup. PepsiCo, which owns Frito-Lay, wouldn't tell the Journal how much the pop-up restaurant promotion cost.
The two campaigns show how food brands — one a packaged goods company, the other a QSR chain — are smartly leveraging V.I.P. out-of-home activations to drum up hype for their products during the dog days of summer, when activity is generally slow. The reservation angle to the Cheetos pop-up and Taco Bell's partnership with OpenTable lend the promotions an air of exclusivity that's clearly gotten fans excited for a novel dining experience, as the success of The Spotted Cheetah can attest.
This tactic is nothing new for Taco Bell. Last year, it opened secretive "speakeasies" around the country ahead of the launch of its Naked Chicken Chalupa. The hope for these types of marketing efforts is that visitors not only enjoy the experience but also share it on social media to get friends and followers interested as well.
Taco Bell attaching a #NakedEggTaco hashtag to the promotion will help bolster this strategy. For the Naked Chalupa speakeasy push, the brand deployed micro-influencers on Instagram to the event locations to photograph and share the menu item. It wouldn't be surprising if a similar tack is taken for the rollout of Bell & Breakfast.
More innovative strategies from fast food and snack brands come as younger consumers, and especially millennials, are often steering away from these categories in favor of healthier, more natural alternatives.