Awesome PR Stunt: Free Tacos For The Entire Country

05 November 2007

My former colleague Will Bortz, now heading up PR at Taco Bell (a fast food Mexican restaurant in the States) was always a favourite brainstorm partner of mine when we both were at H&K Los Angeles.  We loved thinking of the “big ideas” that had the potential to get the entire country talking.  I’m thrilled to say Will has pulled off another one – developing a campaign that would reward everyone in the U.S. with a free taco from Taco Bell.

The campaign was simple – if a base was stolen in the World Series (baseball) everyone in the U.S. would get a free taco.  For you non-sports people out there, this pretty much happens during every game, so you can assume Taco Bell was ready to give out some tacos.  The fun happened earlier this week when Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base, and in the process giving tacos to all!  Last year Taco Bell had a harder promotion around the World Series – a home run hit over the left field wall.  It didn’t happen, so the company selected a sure thing this year.

Taco Bell is an advertiser of the World Series, so they were able to go the traditional ad route to talk about the promotion, but the PR campaign was firing on all cylinders as the excitement and buzz of a “sure thing” was in overdrive.  During each game the TV announcers would reference the promotion as simply part of the action – some great on-air free PR.  And when that base was stolen the talk was about Taco Bell for about 15 minutes during the national telecast.

So Taco Bell paid up a few days later, inviting Americans in to any of the 6,000 Taco Bell locations around the country from 2 pm to 5 pm (smartly between lunch and dinner time) for the free taco giveaway.  Of course the company is banking on customers wanting some sides with that taco or some drinks, so the cost of the promotion is relatively minimal.  The tacos normally sell for 77 cents and word is that they probably actually cost 20 cents, so not a bad investment in getting millions of people to come in your store to check it and the food out.

My bet is already your brain is thinking of ways to do something similar with your client and an upcoming sports property.  The right companies will encourage this type of thinking to see where it heads, knowing that if you put a squash on “big ideas” all you will get are little ideas.  What fun is that? 

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One Response to “Awesome PR Stunt: Free Tacos For The Entire Country”

  1. Ryan's View

    Let’s all do the chicken dance! You know you’ve done it, if you’ve been to a wedding or bar mitzvah or

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