Cannes Lions


DRAFTFCB, Irvine / TACO BELL / 2013

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In early 2012, after 10+ years of its “Think Outside The Bun” tagline, Taco Bell launched its new “Live Más” tagline and immediately followed it up with the introduction of the Doritos Locos Tacos. The social media-inspired campaign shattered all-time sales records and made a huge impact on pop culture. The big challenge was to keep momentum going and find fresh ways to bring to life what it means to “Live Más.”

And then we discovered a compelling news story.

A local prankster in the small, remote town of Bethel, Alaska, played an elaborate hoax on the entire community by saying a Taco Bell was opening soon. Residents were beyond disappointed when they found out it was only a joke. So we set out to make things right.

The nearest Taco Bell to Bethel was over 420 miles away and only accessible by boat or airplane. So we created the first “taco relief mission.” With a military-grade Huey helicopter, we airlifted in a Taco Truck with over 10,000 Doritos Locos Tacos to feed the entire town. It was an exciting day that raised the spirits of the good people of Bethel. In the words of one fired-up teenager, it was “like heaven on Earth.”

We broadcasted the events in real-time through our social media channels and the story spread like wildfire. And just 72 hours after the last taco was served in Bethel, we further magnified the buzz that was building around the live event by releasing a series of online documentary films that told the story of Operation Alaska through the eyes of both the residents and our team. Television commercials provided a larger stage to tell Bethel’s story.

Operation Alaska proved that “Live Más” isn’t just something we say. It’s something we do. Every day.


Operation Alaska created a surge of positive media buzz for the brand. The story garnered over 600m earned media impressions and was covered on high-profile outlets such as Fox News and CNN.

The event also generated over 14.4m social media impressions. Operation Alaska YouTube videos received over 175,000 views with overwhelmingly positive consumer sentiment. Overall, positive brand sentiment increased 8% for this period.

Most importantly, all of the hype translated into continued sales success for Taco Bell. The same-store sales increased more than 6%, during which time 77m Doritos Locos Tacos were sold.

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