By: Daniel Stillman and Hessen Youssef

On October 28th 2014, Taco Bell closed all of its social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Twitter, and began their “New Way to Taco Bell” digital campaign, developed by both Deutsch and Digitas ad agencies. The campaign was meant to increase traffic to Taco Bell’s mobile application. As seen on television, as well as, their social media accounts, the campaign consisted of copy that read “The New Way to Taco Bell Isn’t On ______ it’s #ONLYINTHEAPP” followed by a link where people can download the new application:

It seems Taco Bell “has gone dark,” said Ad Age reporter Maureen Morrison, “the idea is to play up the announcement and attract attention.”

“It’s a bold move for the fast food giant,” said Daniela Galarza, News Editor for online food magazine “Eater.”

“Taco Bell is popular on social media [and] known for its forward-thinking social media strategy…will fans mistakenly come to think that the fast food chain is shutting its doors?” said Galarza.

Although it is very unlikely fans will “mistakenly” think Taco Bell is shutting its social doors, Galarza is right to suggest that it is still a marketing risk, as well as a social media threat.

Taco Bell’s President Brian Niccol, on the other hand, feels confident in the idea: “We believe mobile ordering and payment is the biggest innovation since the drive-thru. Our new mobile ordering [application] is just the beginning of how we are using technology to break down the walls of our restaurants and become more transparent with our customers about our food.”

So was Taco Bell’s campaign successful? Digital Marketer Vishal Mehra seems to think so. In his article “Is Taco Bell the Savviest Social Media Brand?,” Mehra provides two reports noting Taco Bell’s hourly IOS rank(2nd image), as well as, its overall IOS rank(1st image) from the day the campaign was first launched (October 28th, 2014):

Mehra 1

Mehra 2

As you can see, the campaign has made a very positive impact on Taco Bell’s mobile presence, making the application #1 in the US Food & Drink category and overall 24th most popular free application in the United States.

“It is heartening to see Taco Bell embrace technology like no one else, and at the same time, add emotions in the mix,” said Mehra, “[its] something you wouldn’t expect from a fast food retailer.”

Taco Bell’s app campaign has truly revolutionized the way we look at mobile marketing, and digital advertising in general. There is no doubt other companies, as well as ad agencies, will pursue similar digital marketing strategies in the future.

Photos were taken from


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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