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Beauty & Personal Care

Taco Bell’s 'Fresco' Take on DRTV

10 Jun, 2010 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response

The international quick-service restaurant launches an infomercial for its Drive-Thru Diet.


Driving Repeat Business

Wagner and the Taco Bell team are confident that if they can get consumers to buy from the Fresco Menu, they will become repeat customers. They also encourage repeat business through interactive online marketing efforts including Twitter contests, the Frescolution — an online pledge to start living a healthier lifestyle — and an opportunity for consumers to send a Fresco E-card.

“This was the most important component,” Wagner says. “We knew if we could get them to try it, they would return, and it has one of the highest repeats of any product.” Statistics show that a consumer comes back three times in three weeks once they try a Fresco product.

Beyond the infomercial, Taco Bell also ran short-form, 15- and 30-second spots, a cut-down version of the infomercial, with TV personality Chris Rose and Dougherty. The infomercial itself only ran a few times on national television but is on the Web site to view at any time. Most importantly, all commercials had the call to action to get a coupon at And the online interactive component campaign continues to run strong.

“It launched with TV and stays alive virally,” Wagner says. “Since the launch of the commercials, it’s driven the single largest increase of traffic to of anything we’ve put on the Web.”

While there has been some criticism of a healthier menu at Taco Bell and the encouragement to eat “better-for-you” food at a fast-food restaurant, Wagner says the idea was never to get people to stop eating healthy. “But if you have to make a fast-food choice, do the Drive-Thru Diet option,” he adds.

Throughout his marketing experience, Wagner has learned that it takes three key components to successfully sell a “better-for-you” product. First, it has to have taste; second, it has to have value; and third, it has to have convenience. And he believes that Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu delivers on all three counts. The success has continued and today, one out of every three people who goes to Taco Bell orders from the Drive-Thru Diet menu.

When it comes to following Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines, Wagner says the quick-service restaurant had no trouble building an infomercial within the parameters. “The world is transparent now, so we want to be responsible in this area,” he says. “We have lots of nutritionists and dietitians supporting us. It can be a part of the solution. Everybody has a responsibility to eat a balanced diet. If you’re going to eat fast food, we want to give you choices.”

The Web is the hub for almost everything these days, since so many consumers have Internet access, Wagner says. And consumers are doing more research than ever on brands before they buy.

“So if you want to get people to go to a Web site, offer them something free and they will go,” he says. But once the incentive is put out there, the Web site has to keep consumers’ attention.

Taco Bell statistics show that once the Drive-Thru Diet launched, people were going to the site and staying longer than before. “There are a lot of people talking about the offer and sharing it. It’s a fantastic way to try a product. This is a new choice in fast food,” Wagner says.

“We could’ve just had a free drive-thru day, but that would’ve sidestepped the Web site,” he adds. “We wanted an integrated approach to drive customers to the Web site, beyond television. And by offering a coupon, we gave them a reason to go there.”

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