Industry News | May 3, 2000

Chihuahua Rings NYSE OpeningBell

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For several weeks this spring, full-page ads appeared in national publications announcing the "least expensive and most accessible Initial Public Offering in U.S. history." The ads touted that trading would begin at less than 8/16 for new-chip.com, and that the new chip would revolutionize the chip industry forever. One more 'new technology' dot.com?

On May 2, Taco Bell¨ revealed that this unusual marketing spoof was all about a new chip, but not of the new technology variety. The "new chip" is actually Taco Bell's new Nacho Chip, which begins trading at just 49 cents (less than 8/16) at participating restaurants. The new Nacho Chips are now freshly fried and served hot in Taco Bell restaurants, cantina style. A larger, one pound serving called "Mucho Grande Nacho Chips" will also be offered to consumers.

To mark the occasion, Taco Bell's famous icon, the talking Chihuahua, will make a special appearance on Wall Street to ring the opening NYSE bell and announce the new "IPO." After weeks of training, the Chihuahua mastered the art of ringing the bell, marking the first time in history that an animal has rung the NYSE bell.

"What better way to break through the clutter and introduce our new authentic Nacho Chips than by capitalizing on all the interest today in new chip technology and IPO's," said Peter Waller, president and CEO of Taco Bell Corp.

Taco Bell developed the new Nacho Chip in response to consumer interest for an authentic, freshly prepared, Mexican cantina chip. The new Nachos Supreme are freshly fried and served hot in Taco Bell restaurants, cantina style. The new chips begin trading on May 4 at just 49 cents (less than 8/16) with drink purchase at participating restaurants (regularly priced at $1.19). A larger, one pound serving, called "Mucho Grande Nacho Chips," will also be offered for $2.99 at participating restaurants. They are piled high with nacho cheese sauce, sour cream and tomatoes, then topped with jalapenos and black olives.

Prior to the surprise announcement, information about the secretive "IPO," could be found at www.new-chip.com. The website was launched on April 25 with hints about the true nature of the chip, including tidbits such as, "a new megabyte chip originally developed in Mexico, will have Americans embarking on a major chip upgrade."

The new site fueled interest as people logged on to learn more. Currently, the site offers detailed information about the new Mucho Grande Nacho Chips as well as the 49 cent initial public offering of Nachos Supreme. The full-page ads ran in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The San Francisco Chronicle. The ad copy intrigued readers by asking, "Tired of missing out on all the new technology IPOs?" and suggesting that interested parties should, "Stay tuned, as we'll be ringing the NYSE opening bell in a very unusual way to announce this IPO."

Three 30-second television commercials created by TBWA/Chiat/Day will introduce the new chips and feature the company's famous Chihuahua. The first spot will air nationwide on Sunday, May 7th during primetime on network television.

Taco Bell Corp.is a division of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc.