Industry News | July 23, 2002

Taco Bell Lights Up the Galaxy's First ``Star-Studded'' Billboard

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Taco Bell is going where no brand has gone before. The same people who brought you the Mir space station "free taco" offer and tried to buy the Liberty Bell have become the first company to adopt the galaxy's largest billboard. The ultimate in corporate advertising, a star configuration shaped like a bowl, was adopted to honor its newest product, the Southwest Steak Border Bowl. The company is now challenging consumers to look to the skies, "connect the dots" and identify a sky-high spork—the utensil needed to eat a Border Bowl product —in its "Spot the Spork" contest. The grand prize winner will receive a trip to see the "stars" in Hollywood, $1,500 spending money, and a year's supply of Border Bowl meals.

The contest serves as the latest call to Taco Bell consumers to "Think Outside the Bun," the company's $200 million "Think Outside the Bun" advertising campaign, created by Foote, Cone & Belding San Francisco.

This latest "outside-the-bun" advertising campaign was created based on findings from a survey conducted by Luntz Research Companies. Luntz discovered that 62 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the spork, with some mistaking the utensil—a hybrid spoon and fork — for "a planetary constellation."

"Taco Bell is a left-of-center brand that is known for the ideas that push the envelope," said Greg Creed, chief marketing officer, Taco Bell Corp. "Lance Bass and Cindy Crawford want to be the first celebrities to make it into space. Well, we want to be the first corporation. We feel our bowl constellation hits another marketing milestone in the `think big' department."

Taco Bell fans can win the grand prize by identifying the grouping of stars that best resembles a spork. Consumers must get a star map at www.tacobell.com or request one via phone, to map their find. Entries will be judged on how closely they resemble the spork utensil used in Taco Bell restaurants. All participants will receive a coupon for a free Border Bowl product.

According to Stan Shadick, University of Saskatchewan Observatory Director, spork spotters should go to a very dark area about two hours before sunrise during the months of July and August for optimum viewing of this star configuration. "The gigantic bowl resides in Perseus constellation and can be located low in the northeast sky at about 30 degrees above the horizon. Or just look for the Big Dipper, locate its scoop and follow that up diagonally to the right," said Shadick. "Even without any tools to help, the unaided eye can see more than 3,000 stars in the sky. So, everybody has an opportunity to find a spork grouping."

The contest kicks off the new Southwest Steak Border Bowl, made with grilled, marinated steak, tomatoes, green onions and a shredded three-cheese blend layered over seasoned rice and beans, served with creamy jalapeno sauce. The new Border Bowl line-up is the company's first complete meal-in-a-bowl product that seeks to capture the appetites of quick-casual consumers and fans of the burgeoning $240 million bowl entree category. In late June, Taco Bell introduced its first Border Bowl product, the Zesty Chicken Border Bowl.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.