Saturday, March 8, 2008

Taco Bell + Swimsuit Models = Excellent advertising

On impulse (aka compelled by male hormones), I recently purchased the 2008 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The spreads were nice of course, but it was a Taco Bell ad that really caught my attention. Most swimsuit issue ads are what you'd expect: sexual innuendos and girls in bikinis. Few brands take any sort of creative risk, which basically ensures very few ads stand out to the reader. The Taco Bell ad, on the other hand, takes a totally different tack. The reader first sees this page:

Man, that's lame, you think. Nice job thinking outside the bun, Taco Bell. Then you turn the page and find this ad:

Using the "We're so hip by acknowledging this is an ad" technique, eh? So what's the catch?

The last page is a little confusing. The art direction is terrible; there is no transition between the "Haha, there's no hot girl here" voice to the "We need a photographer" voice. Reading it, you'd think you now actually have a chance to go on a photo shoot with Daniella. So you go to the site.

Direct Daniella

In fact, it's not actually a chance to spend some quality time with a Brazilian supermodel. It's actually way better (strategically). Visitors to the site are able to take snapshots of Daniella, as if she's really posing for them, using a prerecorded video of a mock shoot. Each visitor's shots are unique and completely realistic; bad timing, and you'll end up with quite a few of Daniella looking drowsy or drunk. At the end of the shoot you have the option to save as many of your shots as you want to your own computer. It's a creative way to engage the consumer and get many (extended) page views on the site.

Overall, I'd give the campaign an A-. It hits its target audience perfectly, as Taco Bell consumers and swimsuit-issue-buyers are heavily overlapping demographics. This integrated campaign is a whole new twist on user-generated content. It allows each individual to experience the site in his (or her) own way, while still maintaining the integrity of the brand.

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