The brand is drumming up excitement for the debut of its breakfast menu on March 27 by distributing phones that will receive calls and text messages about missions and prizes.
To celebrate the launch of Taco Bell's breakfast menu on March 27, the brand is harnessing a tactic popular among spies and drug dealers: It is distributing 1,000 burner phones to consumers that will prompt them to complete missions for prizes.
The Taco Bell breakfast menu will be available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. or earlier at all of its 5,500 U.S. locations and will include menu items like the Waffle Taco, the A.M. Crunchwrap, Cinnabon Delights, Breakfast Burritos, and A.M. Grilled Tacos.
Taco Bell says it intends to "bring a little más to morning time, offering consumers a break from the usual" by providing "classic breakfast tastes...with a Taco Bell twist - products uniquely wrapped up and portable for consumers' 'on-the-go' lifestyle."
To get fans excited about the largest menu expansion in Taco Bell's more than 50-year history, the brand is distributing the aforementioned phones across the country from March 18 to 21.
The phones will be given out via what marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi describes as "social listening" on Taco Bell's Twitter account, as well as by hiding phones in seven markets: San Francisco, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
"Taco Bell will drop phones in different cities on the 20th and 21st and drive fans to grab 'em via social media," according to a DigitasLBI rep.
Pre-loaded text messages will give users instructions on how to activate the phones and accept the terms and conditions. Throughout the week, the phones will be called and texted, prompting consumers to complete missions to be entered for a chance to win prizes "all in the spirit of Taco Bell Breakfast," the rep says.
The calls will drive fans to engage with Taco Bell on Twitter and Instagram by performing different missions using the hashtag #wakeuplivemas. Consumers who have received phones are also using the hashtag #breakfastphone on Twitter.
Tumblr will serve as the home for all created content, the rep says.
In addition, each day, one fan will receive a call from YouTuber and Taco Bell fan Jake Foushee, whose "golden movie-trailer voice has earned him national attention and appearances on The Ellen Show and more," the rep says.
Once each day, Foushee will give the fan who answers his call a year's worth of free Taco Bell.
In a press release announcing breakfast, Taco Bell president Brian Niccol said the brand's 2014 initiatives are part of its efforts to maintain relevance with Millennials.
The phones are Samsung T404s, which DigitasLBI says are "non-smartphones," creating "a retro guerilla social network that generates excitement to create compelling social chatter and content."
Prizes include "epic breakfast swag" like a trip to the Taco Bell in Pacifica, California, for sunrise surf lessons and breakfast, a trip to breakfast at the Taco Bell of the winner's choice anywhere in the continental U.S., and free breakfast for a year.
Taco Bell and DigitasLBi have also created 10 "pieces of custom breakfast swag" exclusively available through the contest, including Waffle Taco pajamas, Waffle Taco skate decks, Crunchwrap sheet sets, and Waffle Taco shoes.
Twitter and direct messages to the phones will be used to notify winners.
The breakfast campaign launched with the release of a series of Vines that "magically turn boring breakfasts into Taco Bell's newest offerings," like a cinnamon roll into Cinnabon Delights and a waffle into a Waffle Taco.
The breakfast menu will also be supported with television and radio advertising led by Deutsch L.A., in-store POP and packaging by Draftfcb, and digital, social and public relations support from Taylor, Taco Bell says.
Taco Bell has 10.4 million Facebook fans, 1.1 million Twitter followers, and 290,000 Instagram followers.
Mobile marketing firm Hipcricket is powering all the text and voice messaging to the phones.
Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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