Taco Bell has launched its first social media CRM program, using original cartoon episodes to engage consumers. The company plans to expand the effort this summer after a May soft launch on YouTube,  Facebook, Twitter and mobile platforms.

Draftfcb’s Chicago and Orange County offices are managing the initiative’s creative elements.  The fast-food chain’s strategy is to increase customer engagement and deepen consumers’ relationships with the brand.

The effort includes a microsite, www.SDIF.com,  dedicated to the “Super Delicious Ingredient Force,” a band of superheroes that fend off such villains as the “Cruddy Combo Clan.” The site includes webisodes that echo the 1970s’ and 80s’ “Super Friends”  cartoons, with heroes including Captain Enchilada Sauce, Commander Seasoned Beef, Chicken Woman, Flex Tortilla, Crunch Boy and Dr. Steve Value.

The characters are named after Taco Bell flavors.

“People ultimately want to be entertained,” said Danielle Wolfson, senior associate manager of interactive marketing at Taco Bell. “Communicating with consumers has become multifaceted now.”

Goals include both customer acquisition and retention, Wolfson said.

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