Here’s Why Taco Bell Created 600 GIFs and Photos for Its New Social Campaign

It wants to celebrate the taco emoji

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

The taco emoji is finally here, and Taco Bell now has an "taco emoji engine" to show for it.

Today, the fast-food company and Deutsch L.A. are debuting a social-marketing blitz that celebrates the recent launch of the long-awaited taco emoji. The Irvine, Calif.-based brand said that it has created 600 pieces of unique content. Eventually, all of the content will then be posted to, its recently-revamped website.

Here's how it works: People who tweet a picture of a taco emoji with another emoji at the brand's account, for instance, will automatically be sent back a photo or GIF mashing up the two images. If folks tweet a picture of a taco and smiley face, they will then receive an image of a taco wearing sunglasses. In another scenario, tweeting an image of a taco and a satellite sends back a GIF of a satellite shooting out tacos.

There's also an in-store campaign that's more closely aimed at Instagram. On Wednesday, Taco Bell is rolling out four limited-edition "taco holster" packages that wrap around its Doritos Locos tacos to all of its U.S. restaurants.

The fast-food chain hopes its core group of teens and millennials will share the pop-art-oriented wrappers on Instagram.

"They're all meant to be fun, almost collectible pieces. I think they're going to be highly Instagramable," said Marisa Thalberg, chief brand engagement officer for Taco Bell.

Meanwhile, Taco Bell has been advocating for taco-shaped emojis since November 2014 when it set up a petition. The petition collected more than 33,000 signatures before the Unicode Consortium designed a taco emoji in June.

Numerous brands have put their own twist on emojis, but Taco Bell wanted to make the digital sticker part of the built-in keyboard in smartphones.

"This is about the taco having its rightful place in the official emoji keyboard—this wasn't about us doing a branded thing, this was about the taco itself," Thalberg said. "We had our hopes raised and dashed a few times along the way, but ultimately Unicode came through, and it's here."

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.