Taco Bell’s recent breakfast menu campaign caught our attention last week when the brand’s “Ronald McDonald” television ads prompted a Tweet from its biggest competitor.
Not only did Taco Bell’s TV spots make waves, but a Reddit AMA hosted by Taco Bell president Brian Niccol announcing the new breakfast menu generated over 8,000 comments in less than 24 hours.
The driving force behind Taco Bell’s digital marketing success is Tressie Lieberman, the brand’s director of digital marketing and platforms.
“With Breakfast, we wanted to create a campaign that turns heads and takes people off their boring breakfast routines,” said Lieberman, “With any social campaign at Taco Bell, we want to do it in a way that fits our brand voice, and engages our fans and friends.”
Lieberman claims her brand is breaking through by listening to what consumers are saying and sharing content that is unique to Taco Bell. According to the brand, Lieberman has driven tremendous growth for Taco Bell – not only in fan numbers, but more importantly, with true engagement, moving the brand from talking as a corporation, to conversing as a friend with customers across social channels.
Lieberman was generous enough to share what it took to “turn heads” and build a sizable amount of online buzz around the launch of Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu.
5 Questions with Taco Bell’s Director of Digital Marketing and Platforms Tressie Lieberman
Tressie Lieberman: We are a brand driven by innovation, and that includes being the first to explore new digital and social opportunities.
Our goal is to be where our consumers are, in a way that naturally supports that channel. For example, we were one of the first brands to use Snapchat to announce a limited-time offer, our Beefy Crunch Burrito.
For our Breakfast launch, we were the first Quick Service Restaurant brand to use Instagram ads. Our president also participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything, which quickly became one of the most popular AMAs. In addition, we leveraged our social channels including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and our new Tumblr page to engage with fans.
Amy Gesenhues: How did you integrate your traditional campaigns like the “Ronald McDonald” TV spots with your digital efforts?
Tressie Lieberman: We took an integrated approach to supporting the television creative. For example, during the first couple days of launch, two Ronald McDonald’s were engaging with Taco Bell’s social community members through real-time video responses.
A total of 100 videos were made and tweeted to surprise and delight our fans.
Amy Gesenhues: Taco Bell launched a unique mobile campaign to promote the breakfast menu, can you tell us what was involved?
Tressie Lieberman: Our Breakfast Phones were certainly a first for us – and we believe across the industry, taking engagement to the next level.
To leverage the anticipation during pre-launch, we introduced a breakfast phone campaign, and sent 1,000 burner phones to breakfast fans, social influencers and media inviting them to “Wake Up, Live Más.”
The phones featured challenges that allow users to win fun, exclusive Taco Bell breakfast branded merchandise, from Waffle Taco pajamas to A.M. Crunchwrap bed sheets.
Amy Gesenhues: Your president Brian Niccol’s Reddit AMA generated a crazy amount of activity, what levels of engagement are you seeing on other channels?
Tressie Lieberman: We chose to participate in Reddit because it’s where our fans are and it fits our brand. We thought it would be a fun way to engage, but we had no idea how big it would become.
When we announced that breakfast was coming to Taco Bell, it quickly generated billions of impressions, and people said they couldn’t wait to try the Waffle Taco. Since then, we’ve seen more than one billion impressions in social, and more than 5.3 billion total earned media impressions. The response has been incredible.
Amy Gesenhues: One last question, can you tell me more about your team? I’m curious what it takes to plan and execute such a wide range of campaigns.
Tressie Lieberman: We have invested in growing our social capability as our customers spend more time in the space. We view social as a channel that crosses many functions within the organization, from marketing to operations to human resources.
Really, the entire organization has a digital mindset. We also rely on our partners at Digitas, Deutsch and Taylor to assist with major launches like Breakfast.