Taco Bell Makes Cinema Debut

The fast-food chain that asks consumers to “Think outside the bun” in its TV ads is thinking outside of the (TV) box. For the first time, Taco Bell is turning to cinema as it ramps up its “Why pay more?” campaign to push nine menu items priced at 79 cents, 89 cents and 99 cents.

The new ad, dubbed “Roosevelts,” referring to the president pictured on the dime, debuts today in National CineMedia’s FirstLook pre-feature program across 171 markets. The Taco Bell spot, created by Draftfcb Organe County, will also be seen on NCM’s lobby entertainment network of plasma screens located in movie theater lobbies.

Like many cinema advertisers, Taco Bell is using the medium to break the new spot before rolling it out to TV a week later.

Targeting younger adults, the high-energy, music video–style ad (“It’s all about the Roosevelts, baby!”) airs before upcoming summer blockbusters Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen (which grossed more than $60 million on opening day) and Public Enemy.

“If you look at the demos of who goes to the movies, [they] match up perfectly with our target for the ‘Why pay more?’ campaign,” said Debbie Myers, vp of media for Taco Bell. “We love the idea of a captive audience. I’m sure we’ll continue to consider cinema in our media mix,” she added.

Until now, the number of quick-service restaurants that have run ads in national cinemas has been small, though both Wendy’s and Burger King have participated. But now that the cinema networks have achieved national scale, more QSRs are giving cinema a second look.

According to NCM research, 74 percent of cinema patrons eat out either before or after a movie, and 88 percent of NCM’s movie audience is within three miles of a Taco Bell. Those moviegoers are considerably more likely than the average person to be patrons of Taco Bell, per Mediamark Research.

Nielsen Business Media