Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett joined Taco Bell President Greg Creed today at the Taco Bell restaurant on 13920 North May Avenue to announce a unique partnership in support of the OKC Million Challenge. Beginning today, Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu, offering 9 items with less than 9 grams of fat, will become the Official Menu of the Mayor’s Challenge.

The two leaders were joined by local Taco Bell franchisees, dined on Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Tacos and Fresco Steak Soft Tacos, and unveiled marketing plans and point-of-purchase materials that will be displayed in Oklahoma City Taco Bell restaurants. Creed also announced that Taco Bell will reward residents of Oklahoma City with a free Fresco Beef Crunchy Taco when the OKC Million Challenge loses a total of 100,000 pounds, or 10 percent of its goal. Details of the free taco offer will be announced once this goal has been reached.

Mayor Cornett, who has personally lost more than 37 pounds since April 2007, launched an innovative challenge for his city to join together and collectively lose a million pounds earlier this year. His Web site, OKC Million (www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com) has more than 17,000 participants who have lost more than 57,000 pounds since December 2007.

“Oklahoma City residents are no strangers to drive through lanes. That’s why I think this menu is so important to calorie-counting citizens and busy families that are constantly on the go,” says Mayor Cornett. “This is about making better choices, and I believe that people watching their weight will appreciate these options.”

“When we read about the Mayor’s Challenge, Taco Bell had just launched its new Fresco Menu, an important initiative to provide our customers with lower fat options that taste great, and we were also conducting a similar challenge at our company headquarters,” says Greg Creed, President, Taco Bell Corp. “We know the power of working together to improve how we eat and becoming more active. OKC Million was such a big idea that we immediately asked ourselves: how can we partner together to create a win-win for the Mayor’s program and for Oklahoma City residents?

“We’re delighted to have this partnership with the Mayor and his challenge. It is our hope that we can increase the number of participants in the OKC Million Challenge and provide participants with lower fat menu alternatives that don’t sacrifice taste and flavor. We’re so confident that Oklahoma City residents will love our new Fresco Menu, we want to give away thousands of free Fresco Beef Crunchy Tacos when program participants collectively lose 100,000 pounds.”

With Fresco Menu, customers can still enjoy grilled, marinated all-white-meat chicken, seasoned beef and even Carne Asada Steak. Fresco Menu items feature a freshly prepared Fiesta Salsa–a zesty mix of diced tomatoes, white onions and cilantro that replaces cheese and sauce. Fiesta Salsa packs in lots of flavor, and is only five calories per serving and no fat.

The partnership consists of both in-store marketing materials as well as an advertising campaign to encourage Oklahoma City residents to sign up for the Mayor’s Challenge. Half page print advertisements will run in the Daily Oklahoman, as well as a Fresco sponsorship of the daily weight loss tracker on page two.

Fresco Menu will be featured on www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com. Both registered participants of OKC Million Challenge and new registrants who have opted-in will receive a coupon good for a free Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco or a Fresco Steak Soft Taco at participating locations.

Special “Mayor’s Challenge” point-of-purchase displays will be featured in 42 Oklahoma City area restaurants, reaching about 35,000 customers a day. A life-sized standee of Mayor Cornett, holding the Fresco Menu, as well as updated counter cards, will greet customers at the counters in dining rooms. Drive through locations will feature “Mayor Challenge” information on Fresco Menu panels.

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