Industry News | November 8, 2017 | By Peggy Carouthers | QSR Exclusive Brief

How Effective Was Taco Bell’s World Series Promotion?

Taco Bell saw a 12 percent lift in visit share nationwide for the promotion. Taco Bell
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This year, Taco Bell brought back its “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion for a second year to celebrate the World Series. The promotion promised fans a free Doritos Locos Taco for the first base stolen during the series by either team, with the date of the promo depending on when the base was stolen. Houston Astros player Cameron Maybin stole second base during Game Two, and Taco Bell promised one free taco to each customer on November 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. local time.

But just how effective was this promotion in its second year? According to Sense360, a real-time data insights and consumer intelligence company, while the promotion did increase guest visits, the impact was not as strong as it was in 2016.

Sense360 measured the results of the campaign over last year’s, along with impacts on regular traffic, as measured before the campaign. It found that while Taco Bell saw a 12 percent lift in visit share nationwide and a 23 percent lift in visit share in Houston and Los Angeles, nationwide visits for this promotion declined by 17 percent over those from last year.

Los Angeles and Houston markets saw a 45 percent increase in new guests visit share over the benchmark period, while the country saw a 14 percent increase. The “afternoon snack” daypart saw the largest increase, with a 110 percent lift in Los Angeles and Houston over the pre-promotion period.

However, these results are also less impressive than last year’s. During the 2017 campaign, the only daypart to experience growth over last year in visitation was late night, which grew by 20 percent. All others experienced significant decreases, ranging from negative 9 to negative 21 percent.

All occasions—such as “on the go lunch,” “relaxed lunch,” “quick nearby dinner,” and “afternoon snack,” among others—saw visits decrease between 10 and 20 percent.

By location, the greatest increases in visitation during the 2017 promo over the same in 2016 occurred in Los Angeles (6.3 percent) and Nashville at 16.4 percent, while Chicago saw the biggest decrease at 41.8 percent.

The study also measured how specific buyer personas reacted to the promotion, with all but the “Healthy and Wealthy” category experiencing decreases. “Active and on a budget” experienced the highest decreases at negative 22 percent.

Sense360 also measured changes in activity during the promotion period from light guests, or those who visited the brand fewer than four times per month, or heavy guests, who visit more than four times per month. Light guests did visit more frequently during the promotion, but heavy guests did not. Both categories also experienced decreases from last year, with light guests visit share falling by 19 percent and heavy Taco Bell guests by four percent.

The report did not delve into the many reasons why this change might have occurred, but one clue might be that McDonald’s seems to have absorbed a piece of the market share. Though the promotion did draw guests into stores, especially in cities associated with teams in the World Series, the decreasing traffic over last year leaves the question—was this year’s performance enough to warrant a third year for “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco?”