The PR Lions celebrate the craft of strategic and creative communication. Entries will need to demonstrate how original thinking, transformative insight and a strategy rooted in earned has influenced opinion and driven business, societal, and/or cultural change. That is, work with storytelling at its core, which established, protected and enhanced reputation and business of an organisation or brand.
Situation: Taco Bell had arrived in the UK but had not yet opened an outlet in London. Brief: Drive the mass awareness and buzz for Taco Bell's first London restaurant openings, in a way that felt relevant to Taco Bell but also to the everyday Londoner.
Challenge: In food obsessed London, most people wouldn’t notice the arrival of another American food chain. Creating hype around the opening in a city where restaurants open every day was going to be a challenge. Not to mention the fact the Londoners are proudly territorial – it was going to take a charming and cheeky way-in to break through those stiff upper-lipped barriers!
• Create a launch moment to inspire intrigue and spark conversation (whilst epitomising Taco Bell's renowned sense of humour)
• Secure positive media attention around the new restaurants and brand
• Positively impact footfall for restaurants opening across the capital
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
Earned Idea: Big Ben was down for repairs. For four years, London would be missing the classic hourly chimes. But where one bell was silent, another bell could step in. We decided to convincingly mimic the sound of Big Ben to capture the public’s bewilderment and create playful, sharable, online content to reveal that is was in fact Taco Bell who had offered up their bell in its place. The resurrection of Big Bent was the earned engine for the entire Taco Bell launch.
Creative Solution: First, make Taco Bell’s iconic bell logo disappear from all its online platforms, prompting social conversation and building suspense. Then, recreate the chime of Big Ben in a bold, audacious stunt, designed to delight passers-by and earn the media’s attention. Engage relevant influencers to amplify amongst target.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
Taco Bell’s brand is playful, cheeky and fun. The target audience (Londoners) are busy and immune to new restaurant openings which happen daily….but they do have a great sense of humour. We wanted something epic to stop them in their tracks and get them smiling. In their quirky manner, Taco Bell could play on the tradition and pomposity of London's heritage to create a humorous and highly-sharable, attention-earning launch moment.
Londoners had to be the key recipients of the message. Targeting London centric media outlets such as Metro, Evening Standard and City AM was therefore key to our earned media strategy. To capture the attention of the cool, young Londoners most likely to eat tacos, we also selected key relevant influencers to come to the launch event and get everyone talking about our stunt and the Taco Bell restaurant opening.
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
Teaser: Days before the activation, Taco Bell’s logo bell was removed from its UK social channels, leading to questions from the public.
Stunt: Authenticity of the Big Ben bell sound was vital. A professional sound engineer remastered Taco Bell’s jingle to imitate Big Bell’s chimes. We created a camouflaged directed audio network, to build the illusion of the sound coming from thin air. We played the bells, guerrilla-style, to passers-by, every hour and filmed the surprise and confusion ensue.
Reveal: Embargoed releases held the media back. When intrigue was at a peak, we revealed that Taco Bell was behind the stunt, via online film and releases.
Influencer Amplification: Local Influencers created fresh, vox pop-style video content highlighting the stunt, positioning Taco Bell as a cool brand for London’s younger demographic.
Launch Party: Key media targets and London-based influencers attended a Hammersmith branch launch party.
List the results (30% of vote)
• 160 pieces of earned UK media coverage (broadcast clips & articles) (+20 further global)
• Over 1.2 billion earned media impressions
• 38.7M total reach from 62 distinct pieces of earned social coverage
• 500,000+ reach from 40 separate influencer social posts
• 30+ media persons in attendance at launch
• Coverage placed across a breadth of top tier quality media, including food and drink media, lifestyle media, business and trade media and London-focused media, with highlights including FOX News, The London Evening Standard, Food & Wine, Vice: Munchies, Forbes and INSIDER.
• Staff serving tacos non-stop for EIGHT HOURS on opening day, before there was a single gap in the queue (Hammersmith branch) The business impact from the successful launch had a long tail effect on business with the London restaurants outperforming the other Taco Bell UK-outlets... • 70% more sales than UK average (Nov 18-Jan 19)
• 60% more transactions than UK average (Nov 18-Jan 19) Target Audience Outcomes
• 84% increase in online searches for Taco Bell, as compared with the previous week. That’s a big number given they were already present in the UK.
• 40.7% increase in Taco Bell UK Instagram followers (our main influencer content platform)
• 60% increase in unique users on the Taco Bell UK website over the campaign period
• 71% increase in web sessions on the Taco Bell UK website