Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell has launched a review seeking a dedicated agency partner to handle all of its search engine optimization efforts in the U.S., two reliable sources confirmed today.
Taco Bell has not returned several requests for comment.
In 2015, Taco Bell consolidated its media account with Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi and Spark (now known as Digitas and Spark Foundry). Sources said the current review does not include traditional or digital planning/buying duties but claimed Spark is in the running for the SEO AOR work.
It is not clear exactly which agencies are competing for the new designation, and Spark could not be reached for comment.
The review will reportedly not affect Taco Bell’s relationship with Deutsch, which has been its lead creative agency since 2013.
In total, Taco Bell spent $431.8 million on marketing efforts in the U.S. last year, up from the $395.8 million it dished out in 2016, according to Kantar Media.
The review follows Yum! Brands’ better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings report, which was released in February. During that quarter, Yum! Brands saw same-store sales growth at all of its owned properties: Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.
On an earnings call, Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed touted the company’s efforts in 2017 to make Taco Bell, in particular, more accessible and convenient for consumers. Last year, Yum! Brands’ entered into a U.S. partnership with delivery service Grubhub for both its KFC and Taco Bell brands. By 2019, Creed said the company plans to install self-service kiosks in all its Taco Bell restaurants.
“Making it easy to access all of our brands is important and the partnership with Grubhub is a key component of making our brands distinctive, relevant and easy,” Creed said.