chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on April 20, 2012 05:05 PM
Someday, the moves being made by Taco Bell brand stewards may be considered in business schools as a textbook case of how to turn things around. For now, they're at least bringing some smiles to executives of Yum! Brands — and to Taco Bell aficionados everywhere.
It seems that the introduction of the widely awaited Doritos Locos Taco, as well as a breakfast rollout on the West Coast, boosted the company's fortunes considerably during the first quarter, with Taco Bell same-store sales up a remarkable 6 percent during the period compared with a 2-percent drop in the fourth quarter.
The brand had been dragging cheese lately because of a certain boredom with its products by its teen-male cohort; a faux scandal over the content of its beef filling didn't help matters.
The co-branding gambit with Doritos — a former sibling brand under Taco Bell's former owner, PepsiCo — seemed just the thing to re-engage the brand's target demographic, because many of them go as wild over Doritos as they do over Taco Bell. Someone has to make those slapstick Doritos ads the most popular commercials during the Super Bowl. Then Taco Bell added to its momentum with a new advertising campaign and new tagline — "Live Mas" — that was unveiled in February.
Yum CEO David Novak stated ona quarterly earnings call this week (according to Ad Age) that the campaign was launched "to capture the charismatic appeal we have with the youth target audience" and "has been very well received, very well tested."
Novak also told listeners to an earnings call this week that the new breakfast menu rollout at nearly 800 locations in January had gone well. It relies on co-branded products with Johnsonville sausages, Cinnabon and Tropicana. And now the brand is testing a Taco Bell Cantina menu that is more upscale and focused on fresh ingredients, like Chipotle but at a lower price point. Both platforms "are significant" for "grow[ing] our business on a sustainable basis," he said.
From "No Mas" to "Live Mas," Taco Bell is one shell of a turnaround.