Convincing your colleagues and consumers that it’s possible to transform $1.50 tacos into the high life illustrates the value placed on using experiential marketing to drive brand loyalty and equity.
What’s courageous is how ridiculously dissimilar and unrelated the August 2019 event and tie-in is to the day-to-day brand and category. While it runs counter to what the brand typically stands for, it’s kitschy, fun and most importantly – engaging.
Pop-ups and takeovers have been a trend for a while but show no signs of slowing down. In 2017 and 2018, Cheetos put on massively popular bi-coastal pop-up restaurants complete with celebrity chefs Anne Burell and Roy Choi respectively who crafted Cheetos-incorporated dishes. Last year’s hedonistic menu included Sweet n’ Spicy Chili Meatballs infused with XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Like the Taco Bell Hotel, it sold out early and was well attended by influencers, celebs and media both years. No word yet on a 2019 edition.
Reality is that brands like Taco Bell and Cheetos struggle with occasion salience, but these experiences do help bolster aspirations while living the brand and building equity.
They also generate attention with their extreme shareability. Generally, Millennials and Gen Z are social networkers who are eager to share with their friends. Both the Taco Bell and Cheetos brands feed into Instagram culture, giving these consumers exactly what they want: social currency. Sometimes social currency comes in the form of merchandise like a hot sauce packet pool floatie with a $45 price tag.
As brands continue to develop more robust disciplines around influencers and experiences, the bigger challenge will be to prove results – market share, brand perception, spend, intent, etc.
Ultimately, we want to see more brands think outside the tortilla and break through perceived boundaries, so we raise our Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze to them.