Industry News | July 9, 2007

Taco Bell Partners with Gizmoz and MTV to Launch Virtual Casting Call

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Taco Bell has partnered with Gizmoz and MTV to launch a virtual casting call: TV Me. Taco Bell is spicing it up by offering participants a chance to star in their own Taco Bell “avatarsment” using their own created avatar via Gizmoz.com. Using Gizmoz.com’s photorealistic avatars, consumers can audition for the Taco Bell TV Me! search by simply uploading a digital photograph and getting creative.

The TV Me! promotion marks Taco Bell’s first entry into leveraging consumer-generated media advertisements. The promotion will be supported by online banner ads, keyword search buys ,and with a co-branded spot that will air on MTV. Promotional elements and the final spot are being produced by Draftfcb Irvine. Terms of the marketing support were not disclosed.

Winning avatars will star as animated talking characters in a 30-second Taco Bell television commercial. The ad for will debut worldwide during the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on September 9, 2007.

“Our 18 to 24 year old customers are all about creating their own videos and content online, and this consumer-generated ‘avatarsment’ gives us an opportunity to think outside the bun while getting them inside our ads,” said Bob Fulmer, interim Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp.

Using Gizmoz.com’s photorealistic avatars, consumers can audition for the Taco Bell TV Me! search by simply uploading a digital photograph. In less than a minute, their 3D lifelike head and personalized body is automatically created. Consumers can use a microphone to record their own voice for their 15-second, lip-synched audition. Auditions will be judged on personality, originality, overall appeal and ability to express oneself.

“Taco Bell, MTV and Gizmoz are at the forefront of leveraging the power of avatars and user-generated content to enhance the brand experience online and in traditional media,” said Eyal Gever, CEO of Gizmoz. “This leading-edge campaign of self expression and story telling gives all consumers, regardless of their technical background, the opportunity to demonstrate their individuality and unique style online and potentially star in a major TV commercial."

“As always, we look to connect with our audience in the ways they consume media that are beyond television,” said Tim Rosta, senior vice president, Integrated Marketing, MTV. “This partnership with Taco Bell and Gizmoz delivers a new twist to our audience’s insatiable appetite for user-generated content, and besides, everyone looks good as an avatar.”

To access complete search rules, see sample Gizmoz 3D animated talking characters and to audition for Taco Bell’s TV Me! promotion, consumers can visit www.tacobell.com. Taco Bell TV Me! participants can also view sample Gizmoz 3D animated talking characters as well as other auditions. After submitting their audition, users can send to a friend or post their Gizmoz on any blog, video site or social networking profile, or rate other auditions.