How GroundTruth Drove 170,000 Taco Bell Visits For Two-Week ‘Live Más’ Campaign

"More importantly, the increase in taco sales meant more donations to the Taco Bell Foundation for our Live Más Scholarship," said Taco Bell Media Manager David Garcia.

“Doing well, by doing good” was the theme of a two-week campaign last spring by Taco Bell, which sought to drive store visits to help support donations to its college scholarship program.

The Taco Bell Foundation and its Live Más Scholarship is aimed at students whose interests fall somewhere outside the usual “academic” or “athletic” grant programs, said GroundTruth CMO Monica Ho.

The effort with GroundTruth is among several ways that Taco Bell has been working with location technology providers. This past summer, Taco Bell teamed with PlaceIQ to help determine how well the quick serve restaurant chain’s partnership with Lyft worked to literally drive customers to franchise locations.

For the Live Más campaign last spring, Taco Bell worked with GroundTruth to target ads at — and raise awareness among — students who would likely be interested in applying for the scholarship.

To attribute visits tied to its Taco Bell ads, GroundTruth relied on its five-year-old alliance on third-party verification with attribution specialist Placed.

GroundTruth’s “Eat A Taco, Feed A Dream” campaign.

Feeding — And Locating — The Dream

The location-based campaign directed customers to nearby Taco Bells to purchase the Doritos Locos Taco, in which a portion of all sales would be donated to the Live Más Scholarship for the specific Feed The Dream program. In a larger sense, the campaign was a piece Taco Bell’s plan to award $10 million in Live Más Scholarships by 2022, which it announced last month.

Creative mobile ads were served with GroundTruth’s Distance Overlay format to increase foot traffic to Taco Bell stores.

Location Audiences enabled Taco Bell to reach the most engaged people for this campaign. Taco Bell targeted core audience groups: Taco Bell Fans, Competitive QSR goers, Community College Students, and Generation Z.

“Through our partnership with GroundTruth and the power of location data, we were able to increase awareness, store visits, and sales around our Doritos Locos Tacos during that two week window,” said David Garcia, Senior Media Manager at Taco Bell. “More importantly, the increase in taco sales meant more donations to the Taco Bell Foundation for our Live Más Scholarship.”

The two-week effort drove over 170,000 visits to Taco Bell locations, GroundTruth’s Ho said. According to Placed the campaign had particular appeal to Taco Bell’s primary customer base of  young men 18-24-years-old, who were “over-indexed as the most receptive audience to campaign messaging.”

In the end, Taco Bell raiased a $500,000 donation to the Live Más Scholarship thanks in part to heightened media awareness and a portion of Doritos Locos Tacos sales, she added.

A major part of the plan involved separating out a general QSR audience that were not regular Taco Bell customers.

“Over the course of the two weeks, we were amplifying and promoting the message about Taco Bell’s foundation and scholarship program by using our audience targeting, so we know by connecting our data with Taco Bell’s data, we could see who their most frequent loyalists are,” Ho said. “We could show which customers that were not necessarily loyal to Taco Bell, but frequented other QSRs in a given area. From there, we would target those audience profiles, not when they were around a Taco Bell, but while they’re out doing other things.”

The other half of the program rested on promoting the program to Taco Bell regulars. Naturally, the audience that was most engaged audience were Taco Bell loyalists, Ho said, noting that “one out of four of their loyalists who saw the campaign came into a store.”

Taco Bell Focuses On NYC Locations

Earlier this month, Taco Bell said it would open at least 50 new locations in New York City by 2022 — including five that will open by early next year, according to foodie blog Eater.

As of now, NYC has only a few Taco Bell outlets, as the chain has largely focused on suburban areas. The forthcoming NYC franchises will have two big differences with most Taco Bells: one is that they will serve alcohol. Secondly, it most new Taco Bells in the five boroughs will not have drive-throughs. Given that the typical Taco Bell receives 55 to 70 percent of its revenue from drive-throughs, according to Eater, the NYC plan comes with some challenges.

While GroundTruth and Taco Bell haven’t discussed the NYC effort formally, Ho did say that the way the brand is approaching the city makes sense.

“I think that they’ve done a really great job of introducing a lot of different meal options for their price conscious and sensitive consumer,” Ho said, speaking after a panel at Advertising Week NY on the Rise of Autonomous Vehicles. “So I think the NYC stores will reflect that. As for the lack of drive-throughs,  food delivery is something that’s big in New York as opposed to cities like Los Angeles. So I think they’ll play that aspect up too. Drive-through, you know, in certain markets, still can be big business, but you’ve got to appeal to the local base and what makes sense for that area.

“I would expect the NYC franchises will use the smaller format store model,” Ho continued. “Without a drive-through, they don’t have to take up as much space, and you’re appealing to the the needs in major metro areas. When you have on-demand services like a Seamless Uber Eats, why not?”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.