Taco Bell “Smoke”

Watching TV commercials, the proverbial visitor from outer space might conclude that the social life of young adults consists largely of commenting upon and, at times, filching one another’s fast-food purchases. In this spot for Taco Bell (via Draftfcb Orange County), one guy has swiped another’s Volcano Taco. The thief’s claims of innocence would be more convincing were it not for the fact that smoke is coming out of his ears and fire out of his mouth – the telltale symptoms, a viewer gathers, of consuming what the voiceover says “could be the spiciest taco ever.” Even the most inattentive viewer will take in the fact that this new item (which comes garnished with “lava sauce”) is really, really spicy. Just as important, they’ll see a Taco Bell purchase as a kind of communal experience – not something to be sneezed at in an era when twentysomethings spend so many of their waking hours staring at their own computer screens rather than interacting with the people around
them. The guy who bought the Volcano Taco in this vignette may have shared it involuntarily, but the promise of a shared experience will come across as part of the product’s appeal. -Mark Dolliver