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Taco Bell Nails Cinco de Mayo with “Breakfast Defectors” Campaign

From an American’s point of view, Taco Bell and Cinco de Mayo go hand in hand. It only makes sense that the fast food chain would capitalize on the holiday as an opportunity to drive more customers to locations and increase revenue. Last year, I know I headed straight to the drive-through on the way to an afternoon party to pick up a box of Doritos Locos Tacos (okay, maybe I grabbed two). Taco Bell knows this – that customers will be flocking to the restaurant to buy cheap Mexican food en masse on a day like the beloved Cinco. They don’t need to spend marketing dollars on that.

This year, however, Taco Bell found the perfect way to use the day of festivities even more to their advantage. The company launched their breakfast menu just over a year ago, but sales have been slow. After all, they’re not exactly known for their breakfast specialties, which compete against other fast food giants who have been selling Egg McMuffins and the like for decades. People are rooted in routine – especially morning routines – so effecting change is no easy task. One way to succeed in this niche of the market: conquest other fast food breakfast brand loyalists. Cinco de Mayo proved to be an excellent opportunity to do just that.

On May 5th consumers were encouraged to become “Breakfast Defectors” and ditch their usual morning stop in lieu of Taco Bell. Efforts included a special website, social media, fan influencer kits, and a strong advertising mix (my morning drive to work featured an ad on Pandora). Dystopian-style creative like “Routine Republic” (below) urged everyone to defect from their typical choice – to break the norm from the mindless breakfast sandwich fare. Instead, they should come get a free Biscuit Taco for breakfast. 

With extended breakfast hours (Taco Bell serves until 11am, some other chains are known for switching to normal service a bit earlier) and the option of free, the hopes were to increase awareness and establish the restaurant as a staple in the fast food breakfast market. Attaching the campaign to a holiday already associated with the brand was a brilliant move. The campaign got major PR pickup as well, appearing everywhere from Huffington Post to Time Magazine Online.

While the numbers haven’t been reported and we don’t know just how many free Biscuit Taco were given out on Cinco de Mayo, I’m willing to bet that it’s much more than the company would have done had they deemed any other day of the “Breakfast Defectors Day”. It’s the perfect date start your day with some free “Mexican food.” The real question is: will those who partook of free breakfast tacos return for a morning meal before next May 5th?

~ Anne Martin, AAE, The S3 Agency


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