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Taco Bell unrolls Periscope for Cinco de Mayo giveaway

Taco Bell recently made a special announcement via live-streaming application Periscope, alerting consumers of a Biscuit Taco giveaway on Cinco de Mayo while testing the latest buzzed-about mobile platform’s ability to drive awareness and store traffic.

On May 5, the brand plans to offer guests who visit its participating bricks-and-mortar locations a free Biscuit Taco, a new breakfast menu item. The announcement on Twitter’s Periscope was a first for the company, which places high value on leveraging social media to reach consumers nationwide.

“We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our fans and saw that they were using Periscope,” said Rob Poetsch, director of public relations at Taco Bell Corp., Irvine, CA. “We played around with the app and immediately saw the potential.

“It’s a fun way to broadcast news and live events, and a great platform to make our Breakfast Defector Day announcement.”

Periscope’s popularity
While other live-streaming mobile apps, such as Meerkat, have also been introduced this year, more brands appear to be flocking to Periscope, perhaps due to its ability to capture the fleeting attention of the millennial crowd given the app’s connection to Twitter.

Taco Bell unveiled a live-stream video yesterday morning to announce the Biscuit Taco giveaway, taking social media users into its headquarters and introducing them to two young news presenters, Erica and Chris.

“The best thing to do here is to put yourself into the marketer for Taco Bell,” said Scott Michaels, executive vice president at Atimi, Vancouver, BC. “You have a promotion, and how can you expand the reach and distance of your campaign announcement for as little cost as possible?

“Use a currently trending social service as the launch point, of course. This has been done on YouTube in its early days, Twitter, and now Periscope,” he said.

“I applaud the effort – and believe that the press generated around it is of course more valuable than the other methods of posting they have at their disposal (Taco Bell already having YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts).”

Erica and Chris welcomed the audience to a segment of “Taco Bells News to Know.” After discussing the new Taco Bell restaurant opening in Tokyo, Japan this week, they welcomed the director of brand marketing to the screen to share the news about the Biscuit Taco.

As Taco Bell introduced breakfast items last March, it is now asking consumers to defect from their usual breakfast foods and come try out Taco Bell’s offerings instead. This prompted the brand to create “Breakfast Defector Day,” which will offer each walk-in guest a free Biscuit Taco in sausage or bacon from the hours of 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 5.

The promotion is said to be available at all Taco Bell locations, with a one-item-per-customer limit.

The campaign is being rolled out to thank breakfast defectors nationwide who have shared their love for Taco Bell’s breakfast items on social media. The brand is even rolling out a new television spot featuring consumers’ passionate Tweets.

“Consumers can Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or Like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest news on Breakfast Defector Day,” Taco Bell’s Mr. Poetsch said. “We also encourage people to check Snapchat on Breakfast Defector Day – they may see a surprise from Taco Bell!”

The Biscuit Taco includes a taco-shaped buttery biscuit filled with traditional breakfast flavors such as sausage and bacon with eggs and cheese.

Ramping up sales
Taco Bell is on an upward trajectory when it comes to rolling out mobile strategies to continue driving sales. The brand is no stranger to giving away free items when attempting to raise awareness of a specific product.

This past January, it drove downloads of its mobile application and ramped up awareness of its mobile ordering function by tempting customers with a free Doritos Locos Taco with each mobile purchase made during the month (see story).

Taco Bell is also gearing up to overtake its competitors in mobile strategy by announcing plans to roll out a customer loyalty program as part of its mobile application later this year, placing it a step above other fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King that do not offer rewards platforms (see story).

If Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo promotion proves successful, it may prompt other food brands to take note of Periscope as a potential communication channel to tap when making widespread announcements.

“Really, would this announcement have gotten any buzz if released on the other (older, more established) channels?” Atimi’s Mr. Michaels said. “No.

“I think it was a smart communication channel to roll out the announcement. From there, all the rest of the machinery can take over.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York