Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that an 11-minute conspiracy theory video was part of the Taco Bell campaign. We regret the error.
- Yum! Brands's Taco Bell is promoting its dollar menu with a new "Belluminati" campaign that pokes fun at one of pop culture's favorite secretive cabals, according to Adweek. Created by the agency Deutsch, the effort features video and social media elements.
- The idea behind the creative is to strategically position Taco Bell as a "not-so-secret" society where people can gain access for just $1, CMO Marisa Thalberg told Adweek. This expands on Taco Bell's "Feast for a Dollar" push from earlier this year.
- In a separate bit of news, Thalberg told Adweek the brand isn't planning on running any TV commercials during the Super Bowl next year. She said a spot in the big game is a tool in the toolbox, but takes a huge cut into budgets.
Taco Bell's push, beyond having fun with outlandish online conspiracy theories around the Illuminati, shows the brand positioning its dollar menu as an appealing option for consumers who want VIP access at little cost. The campaign attempts to push beyond an emphasis on value and promotional deals — usually the focus for these types of efforts — to instead do a little world-building that piques customers' curiosity and draws them in creatively.
Thalberg's comments about skipping the Super Bowl are interesting as well, as the executive earlier this year suggested that Taco Bell would be directing more budgets toward TV and away from digital, as the latter previously led the brand "down some garden paths." The Belluminati campaign, however, has a strong digital component, including through social media.
These changes might arrive as Taco Bell is ramping up digital transformation in other areas of its business, such as at restaurant locations. QSR Magazine reported that the company will soon be adding self-serve kiosks to its franchise locations, along with more delivery options. Both McDonald's and Subway are enacting similar strategies to meet shifting consumer demands for convenience and modernity.