Deutsch (Finally) Unveils Taco Bell ‘Mystery Item’ With ‘Bigger Than…’

By Erik Oster Comment

In early January, Deutsch began teasing its Super Bowl spot for Taco Bell, with the release of cryptic, intentionally-redacted statement which revealed the ad would promote a new menu item. Shortly thereafter, many people speculated the item would be the Quesalupa. Yesterday, following an ambiguous teaser last week featuring Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden, “alien expert” Giorgio A. Tsoukalos and “Texas law hawk” Bryan Wilson holding a green cube standing in for the item, the agency released its big game ad, revealing the “mystery menu item” to in fact be the Quesalupa (essentially Taco Bell’s version of fellow Yum! Brand Pizza Hut’s stuffed crust pizza). 

“Cheese in the shell” says a young woman at the start of the full-length ad (above), accompanied by obligatory cheese pull. “This is going to be bigger than man buns,” chimes in her friend, as the action cuts to two men sporting the dubious hairstyle, who in turn claim it will be bigger than Tinder. From there we cut to a girl checking out one of the guys on Tinder, whose friend says “This is going to be bigger than that Texas lawyer guy,” as Wilson makes his appearance. The pattern continues, citing the menu item as “bigger than” such random references as “James Harden’s beard,” drones, aliens, so-called hoverboards, the bass drop, “real football” (as Neymar puts it) and the internet, ending on a chuckling George Takei (no mention of Jesus anywhere). It’s an approach tailor-made to appeal to the young audience who is the brand’s main demographic, with its short attention span and internet culture references. While the sheer of randomness of the ad and lack of focus don’t exactly make for entertaining viewing, and the spot risks alienating its target audience by so obviously pandering to them, we do appreciate that Deutsch kept Taco Bell amongst the brands whose Super Bowl teasers didn’t reveal too much about the final big game ad. And that the ad was kept a secret until the Super Bowl was something of a refreshing throwback.