Taco Bell goes sublimnal to draw out peoples’ cravings

The QSR used imagery for fake brands to plant a craving for its namesake product in the minds of Canadians.

Taco Bell is hoping the subliminal images in its latest campaign will ring a bell in the minds of those who see them.

The QSR chain launched the “I See A Taco” campaign on July 26, placing unbranded OOH, online and social videos for fake brands, all of which advertised products ranging from perfume to gaming consoles that suspiciously resemble a hard-shelled taco.

Links and scannable QR codes embedded in the images and videos led to a page that revealed Taco Bell Canada as the culprit and rewarded those who followed with a tip-off to an upcoming taco giveaway on Aug. 11.

For those who chose not to follow the links and QR codes, the brand revealed it was behind the stunt by stenciling its logo and name onto the OOH posters on Aug. 2 while announcing the giveaway online, as well as on social and earned media.

The activation “is completely unique to Taco Bell Canada,” says Devon Lawrence, senior brand manager for the company. “While an extension of Taco Bell’s first global campaign, ‘I See A Taco,’ this activation has been specifically developed and tailored to the Canadian market.”

The goal was to “invite customers to see tacos everywhere in the wild,” she explains. The taco is the QSR’s core menu item, she says, and the “I See A Taco” campaign is about “leveraging the semi-circular taco shape to encourage taco-seeking behaviour with consumers.”

Dentsu One, Edelman and Wavemaker worked on the campaign, and the reveal assets will remain in market until Sept. 26.