Fieldwork for Taco Bell

Taco Bell Corp. is “evaluating” its field marketing agencies as part of a national assessment of its needs, according to Michael Markowitz, a consultant to the Irvine, Calif.-based fast-food giant.
Bozell Worldwide handles field marketing for Taco Bell in about 60-65 percent of the nation’s major markets. The shop’s Costa Mesa, Calif., office also handles the client’s national media buying. TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., handles field marketing in several Midwest markets, while Landor & Partners in Clearwater, Fla., handles some Southeast markets.
“Taco Bell is converting from a company-owned to a franchisee-owned system,” said Markowitz, a Great Barrington, Mass.-based consultant.”
“We are looking at what our franchisees want our field marketers to do,” said Laurie Gannon, a Taco Bell representative.
Field marketing consists of “insuring execution of national programs at the local marketing level,” Markowitz said. A small amount of local advertising is involved, “but virtually all media dollars are national,” he added.
Field marketing expenditures account for 10-20 percent of Taco Bell’s total media budget, according to industry estimates.
The field marketing resources assessment could precede a review for Taco Bell’s media buying assignment. When Taco Bell moved creative duties of its $200 million ad account to TBWA Chiat/Day earlier this year without a review, sources speculated that media duties were likely to follow.
A media review could include TBWA Chiat/Day as well as outside agencies and buying services, sources said. Markowitz denied those reports. “Bozell is doing a terrific job on media buying,” he noted. “There is certainly no review going on.”
When asked whether other shops would be invited to vie for the field marketing business, Markowitz said, “No one knows at this point.”