Industry News | April 17, 2006

Taco Bell Coins New Daypart

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Consumers seeking "outside the bun" late-night choices will find it during Taco Bell’s Fourthmeal. The program launches today at participating Taco Bell restaurants nationwide and will be supported by a campaign that features television, radio, and outdoor advertising, an interactive web site at fourthmeal.com and in-store merchandising.

"Not so long ago, the term 'brunch' was coined for people who ate a late breakfast," says Bill Pearce, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell Corp. "Fourthmeal finally gives the millions of Taco Bell consumers who eat late at night their own definition. Our research shows they're already eating late, whether they're extending the night with friends, or satisfying their hunger after studying or working late."

Aside from America's trend-setting youth, there are a myriad of factors shaping a Fourthmeal culture for most Americans. In fact, about 40 percent of all employed Americans work a "non-traditional" schedule (i.e. working late at night, long hours, weekends, etc.). According to a recent nationwide survey conducted by Taco Bell, the majority of Americans (53 percent) say they eat later now than they did in years past because they are busier. Among survey respondents, an incredible 44.7 percent of 18-29 year old males eat later than 7:00 p.m. every night while nearly a third of all males ages 30-39 also eat every night after 7:00 p.m.

The Fourthmeal launch is supported by three national TV spots produced by Foote, Cone & Belding. The campaign centers around a young, hip "Fourthmealer" who appears in the nick of time to save people from their late night hunger. In one spot he makes his way in and out of a busy nightclub as other young adults socialize, dance and enjoy music. At the height of the spot, he is seen atop the D.J. stand, holding up his bag of Taco Bell food declaring "everyone is a Fourthmealer, some just don't know it yet," calling attention to this late night eating behavior beckoning for a name.

In the second spot viewers follow a young adult male stuck late at work. Hungry, he opens the break room refrigerator and grabs some leftovers marked "Karen's" with a yellow note. Our main character appears out of nowhere, reminding him that indeed he is not Karen and saves him from hunger with Fourthmeal food from Taco Bell. The last spot educates consumers about the unique tastes and textures of Fourthmeal, which encompasses a wide variety of food, not just one combination of four specific food items.

Those scanning the radio airwaves will hear a humorous radio campaign, also produced by Foote, Cone & Belding, highlighting the four key tastes and textures of Fourthmeal. Set at a wedding, crunchy, spicy, melty and grilled become characters in a wedding band, helping the best man deliver a touching speech.

In addition, consumers can experience Fourthmeal at Fourthmeal.com. The innovative web site's home page is set inside a late night street scene and features a variety of interactive content. This content is designed to appeal to online visitors, enticing them to stay, explore and learn about Fourthmeal. Fourthmeal.com features a Trans4mator, a character (or avatar) creator that creates a personalized late night alter-ego and allows friends to chat online. Once an avatar is created, it acts as a guide through the Fourthmeal virtual world. The site has a Combinator, which asks users for their favorite Taco Bell food items, then formulates fun beverage concoctions to try. For fun and games there is Ro Sham Bell, a 'Think Outside the Bun(R)' version of the classic rock-paper-scissors game, where friends can play online to help settle even the most ardent late night dispute. Finally, there is the Theatre, which offers short videos inspired by Fourthmeal and current advertising.