Adventures in Marketing: Doritos and Taco Bell, BFFs

Dorito's Taco Bell

Dorito's Taco BellWe usually love the idea of two complementary brands coming together and doing great things, but when we first heard about the ongoing collaboration between Doritos and Taco Bell, we were a little skeptical.

We understand that these leaders in the “corn-based foods with ridiculously high levels of saturated fat” market appeal to the same audiences (namely drunk college kids and adults in a rush), but we wondered if a taco served inside a big Dorito dusted with nuclear red “cheese” would be a little too much.

We were very, very wrong: The Doritos Locos Tacos quickly became the best-selling item in the history of the Tex-Mex chain, which got mouths watering again this week with a Facebook post sort of announcing the pending release of the Cool Ranch version. We still can’t quite get over the fact that this simple post got 120,000 likes, 11,500 shares, and more than 8,000 comments.

The Huffington Post recently attempted to discern exactly why this co-branding exercise worked so well, and we have to agree with most of their points:

It’s a novel food item that initially inspires skepticism, but it’s also cheap enough to allow anyone to satisfy his or her curiosity (and you are curious–don’t deny it). If said taco turned out to be disgusting, “diners” would only have to lament the loss of a paltry $1.70.

We should also mention the company’s great social media stunts, which include an implicit offer to create a branded Speedo for a high school swimmer who won’t fit into it for long and the whole “airlift 10,000 tacos to an Alaskan town that thought they were getting a Taco Bell but really didn’t” thing.

But the meeting of two extremely familiar brands was the most important element of this highly profitable fried corn sandwich–it wouldn’t have worked without the Doritos name. Who wants to eat a “taco sprinkled with cool ranch dressing-flavored dust?”