Global Marketing

Team Interesting! – 1996 Taco Bell Marketing Strategy Pays Off

Hello all!  Today I am going to retell a marketing strategy that Taco Bell implemented in 1996 to drive up sales for a brief period.

On the morning of April 1st, 1996 an ad was placed in the New York Times with a headline that stated the following: “Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell.”  In this article Taco Bell stated, “We are pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures.  It will now be called the Taco Liberty Bell.”  Taco Bell had also explained in this article the Taco Liberty Bell will still be accessible to the American public for viewing.  Also, “While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.”  When I first read this part the first question that popped into my head was did we even have much debt in 1996?  Anyway, back to Taco Bell.  Taco Bell had explained that people have been adopting highways for years and that purchasing a national treasure was just a new way of furthering that idea.  Within hours of this article being released thousands of upset Americans called in complaints to the home of the ‘Taco Liberty Bell’ located in Philadelphia.  By noon of that day Taco Bell had admitted to what many people had suspected which was that this was an April Fool’s joke.

With all this being said more than 650 print media outlets and 400 broadcast networks covered this prank reaching more than 70 million Americans nationwide.  That day Taco Bell’s revenues increased by more than $500,000 and the following day by more than $600,000. When the Whites House’s spokesperson Mike McCurry was asked about the Taco Liberty Bell he commented that the Lincoln Memorial had been sold and now would be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.  I liked this part because it is nice to see a politician with a little humor.

Overall, Taco Bell took a little risk on this April Fool’s Day but it ended up paying off by giving them a short boost in company sales.

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