Taco Bell fans around the country burned the midnight oil today in anticipation of the chain's Doritos Locos Tacos debut. The company is calling the new taco – which features a hard shell made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos – its "biggest product introduction in history."
The launch, which officially took place at midnight, comes 50 years after the original crunch taco appeared on menus. The item also includes seasoned beef, shredded lettuce and cheddar cheese, and is available for a suggested retail price of $1.29, or $1.69 for a Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme.
A Doritos Locos Tacos Big Box Meal includes a Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, Burrito Supreme, Crunchy Taco and a medium drink. For people looking for lower-calorie, lower-fat options, Doritos Locos Tacos is available Fresco Style.
Taco Bell partnered with Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. to reinvent the chain's most popular menu item.
Greg Creed, CEO, Taco Bell Corp., tasked his team and the chain's partners to come up with the "industry's next big thing."
"It was an idea so simple and brilliant ... a flavor pairing just waiting to happen," he said. "Taco Bell founder Glen Bell has been recognized for his 'Recipes for Success.' At the top of that list: the best ideas often are the most simple."
According to Creed, four new production lines were built to handle the proprietary recipe and the demand that consumers had shown in test marketing. Taco Bell has produced more than 50 million Doritos Locos Tacos shells in anticipation of the initial launch.
Cool Ranch version to follow
Doritos Locos Tacos was test marketed for one year in three cities (Bakersfield and Fresno, Calif., and Toledo, Ohio) – where one out of every three purchases included the Doritos Locos Tacos. In addition to the test markets, the shell itself was consumer tested at Frito-Lay, resulting in positive feedback.
Initially available in Nacho Cheese, Taco Bell plans to introduce a Cool Ranch version this fall.
"With the wide range of Doritos flavors available, the possibilities for this product platform are endless," said Creed, noting that fans have begun to guess and request future Doritos Locos Tacos shells.
Massive marketing push
Taco Bell will support the introduction of Doritos Locos Tacos with its biggest marketing effort in recent history. The company plans on an integrated marketing and consumer engagement effort that includes advertising (television, print, radio, outdoor, online), digital, social and public relations.
Internally, the company already launched a "Team Member" engagement effort, with more than 135,000 employees nationwide receiving a Doritos Locos Tacos launch box with t-shirts, friends-and-family coupons, and a brochure detailing Glen Bell's legacy.
Doritos Locos Tacos television advertising, created by Draftfcb Orange County, will feature the company's new tagline, "Live Más" which reflects the brand insight of "if you never do, you'll never know." This insight is further developed in the brand's explorer-type roots, and by shifting from "food as fuel" to "food as experience."
Introduced in February 2012 in brand television spots, Live Más celebrates getting more out of life, encouraging exploration and discovery beyond food. The television spots also integrate music from Taco Bell's Feed the Beat program, which since 2006 has provided free Fourthmeal to hundreds of up-and-coming bands and artists.
Taco Bell will integrate the brand and Doritos Locos Tacos at a music conference in Austin, Texas, from March 13 through March 17. In partnership with the Hype Machine, Taco Bell will host the Feed the Beat Concert Series at the Hype Hotel, where music lovers can discover more than 50 artists and sample Doritos Locos Tacos.
For music fans not attending the Feed the Beat Concert Series, Doritos Locos Tacos holsters will feature a QR code to exclusive video content showcasing performances from the Hype Hotel. A new performance will be featured each week.
Furthering the engagement, fans will have an opportunity to share their Doritos Locos Tacos impressions through Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to the Taco Bell Mobile App, which includes augmented reality via medium and large cups, as well as the Doritos Locos Tacos Big Box Meal, consumers will be able to connect with the brand and others by viewing a compilation of tweets and Facebook comments.
Finally, from March 12 through May 6, several tweets featuring the hashtag #DoritosLocosTacos will be shown on digital billboards in New York City's Times Square and on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard. Once a post appears on a billboard, a snapshot will be sent to the creator for download and sharing with friends, and located for viewing on www.doritoslocostacos.com.
Check out one of the first commercials promoting the Doritos Locos Tacos.