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Taco Bell Gets a More Relevant Attitude

Draftfcb’s “Live Más” cross-cultural branding wants food to be fun
  • March 11 2012

It’s out with “Yo quiero Taco Bell” and “Think Outside the Bun” and in with “Live Más” at Taco Bell. The chain’s new slogan, bilingual for “Live More,” heralds the next phase of the brand’s positioning—and its menu—to make it more vital and exciting to its target of cross-cultural millennials.

“This is a bilingual phrase that sums up why this product will be attractive to a young, hip and cross-cultural consumer,” says Ken Muench, SVP of strategic planning at Draftfcb’s Orange County office, which created the campaign. “The brand has moved past the point of the idea of ‘food as fuel.’ Young people in our new multi-cultural landscape don’t see it that way. They look at food as an experience. That’s what the new Taco Bell will provide. And that’s the story we’re telling.”

Greg Creed, Taco Bell CEO, concurs. “Our customers told us they want a more relevant Taco Bell, and we’ve taken numerous steps focusing on our food and improving the customer experience,” he says. “Live Más connects us back to our explorer roots and speaks to people with a genuine voice that feels much more true to who we are and what we believe in.”

Taco Bell, which turns 50 this year, is rolling out a slate of new products (including breakfast) and is testing a new upscale menu called Cantina Bell, featuring higher-quality ingredients that could go head-to-head with Chipotle, with more favorable prices.

The chain enlisted Venezuelan-born and Miami-based celebrity chef Lorena Garcia, a judge from NBC’s America’s Next Great Restaurant, to create the menu and establish credibility behind the effort. “Cantina Bell is the essence of cross-culturalism,” says Muench. “Aspirational Americans are riveted by the offerings of other cultures. Do you realize that there are 31 percent more ethnic restaurants in Peoria than American restaurants?” And if it plays in Peoria, the plan is to take Cantina Bell coast-to-coast.

Still, the main focus is the introduction of Doritos Locos Taco…which Creed calls the chain’s biggest product launch ever. The taco has a shell made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos Chips and comes with a custom cardboard holster to protect the consumer’s hands from Doritos’ cheese dust.

“We’ve never seen so much buzz before the launch of a new product,” says Teddy Brown, SVP executive creative director of Draftfcb Orange Country. “We had college kids from Virginia asking us about it more than a year ago. One of them drove to the test market to try it.”

Taco Bell and Draftfcb have been building additional excitement around the introduction.  A clock on Taco Bell’s website ticked down the Doritos Locos Tacos launch. The winner of a Twitter contest was sent a truck loaded with the tacos. “There is a wow factor behind this product,” Brown says. “Doritos and Taco Bell are a perfect fit. In one way it’s completely surprising, yet also inevitable.”

“The Doritos Locos Taco and Cantina Bell are both built around multi-cultural millennial ideals,” says Muench. “It’s all about new experiences across cultures. It’s not just one path. We’re exposing people to many new experiences and millennials crave fringe experiences. We’re simply showing them how they can Live Más.”