When movie studios produce a sequel, they often keep many elements from the original to ensure fans get more of what they like.
Taco Bell and its agency Deutsch LA took that idea a step further with the Nacho Fries Challenge, in which they asked fans to submit ideas for a “movie trailer” about nacho fries.
Since introducing the menu item in 2018, the fast-food company has marketed it with movie trailers, including one in which an astronaut travels to another dimension to bring back the fries after they disappeared.
"We've explored tons of genres for Nacho Fries over the years, but this may be my favorite yet because it gave our most loyal fans a front row seat to co-create one of our biggest fan-led campaigns ever,” Tracee Larocca, Taco Bell senior vice president of global brand creative, stated in a press release.
The food giant and ad agency decided to crowd-source ideas from its fans for the campaign because of “the belief that brands, no matter how big they are, should be nimble enough to ride culture at its same speed,” Lincoln Lopes, a creative director for Deutsch LA, stated in an email to Campaign.
To execute the challenge, Taco Bell asked fans to submit ideas for the trailer on Twitter using the hashtag #FriesChallenge.
“We treated Twitter like a war room, where our Taco Bell [and] Deutsch LA teams were the showrunners, and the fans were the writers,” Felipe Machado, creative director for Deutsch LA, told Campaign US in an email. “The whole Twitter thread interaction felt like a writer’s room, and it was truly fascinating to see our script coming to life in real time.”
More than 1,000 people responded to Taco Bell’s tweets about the campaign; more than 1,900 people liked the campaign posts; and more than 3,000 people responded to questions about the main character’s outfit and sidekicks, among other decisions for the trailer, according to Deutsch LA.
The trailer, from Taco Bell’s Live Más Productions, appears to play on the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs,” in which Samberg’s character is stuck in a time loop.
“I’m living the same day over and over again,” explains the main character in the trailer. “It’s awesome because I get to do whatever I want – plus Nacho Fries never leave the menu.”
That is, until an evil mastermind says the woman is “violating the Nacho Fries limited timeline” and sends a Terminator-like character to come after her in a sequence of action movie-like scenes.
The trailer closes with a graphic reading “Fry again,” indicating that the script was “based on real fan tweets.”
“This campaign is a great example of how a simple shift in the power dynamics between fans and brands can generate unparalleled results,” Lopes stated.
In addition to Deutsch LA and Taco Bell, Superprime, Juice Film, Cabin Editorial, ALT VFX, Co3 Los Angeles and Lime Studios worked on the campaign.