Taco Bell Does ‘Assessment’ Of Field Marketing Agencies

LOS ANGELES-Taco Bell is “evaluating” its field marketing agencies as part of a national “assessment” of its local promotional needs, said Michael Markowitz, a consultant to the Irvine, Calif.-based fast-food giant.
Bozell Worldwide handles field marketing for Taco Bell in 60-65 percent of the nation’s major markets. The agency’s Costa Mesa, Calif., office, which lost the creative portion of Taco Bell’s estimated $200 million account to TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., earlier this year, still handles the company’s national media buying business. TBWA Chiat/Day handles field marketing in several Midwest markets while Landers and Partners in Clearwater, Fla., handles some Southeastern markets.
Markowitz said that Taco Bell is “evaluating Bozell’s performance” as well as “other agencies” that handle field marketing. “There is an assessment of needs going on,” he said. “There is certainly no review.” Taco Bell wants to determine its field marketing needs as the company converts into a franchisee system from a chain of company-owned stores, he said.
When asked if outside agencies would be invited to pitch the business, Markowitz said, “No one knows at this point.” He added: “Bozell knows it has some problems, but Taco Bell’s inclination is to give Bozell every chance to be successful.”
Several sources said last week that the field marketing assessment could be a prelude to a media buying review, but Markowitz and Taco Bell executives denied that was in the cards.
Chris Becker, Bozell account director on Taco Bell, said he was not aware of the field marketing evaluation or the possibility of a media review.