Talking Strategy With Taco Bell and Their Latest 'Taco Twosday' Campaign With LeBron James and Jason Sudeikis.

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief
May 23, 2024
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IRVINE, CA - If you were at the helm of marketing at Taco Bell, with an approx. $300-400 million budget to shell out, how would you launch a new taco deal? 

Back story: In 2023 Taco Bell hired LeBron James to star in a tongue and cheek ad entitled ‘Taco Bleep’. The ad would highlight the ‘absurdity’ of the three-decades-long trademark of ‘Taco Tuesday’ by one of its rivals. The shrewd marketing department spotted James sharing videos of his family's taco nights to his 159 million followers on Instagram back in 2019 with his application to trademark the term being denied. 

And, in May 2023, their partnership began with that 30-second ad alongside the Yum Brands chain filing legal petitions with the Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to overturn the trademark. 

This latest instalment of Lebron James and Taco Bell sees Jason Sudeikis and the basketball legend join forces. And it’s fantastic. Finding a way to jump through the hoops of trademark infringement, we are invited to join the pair celebrating ‘Taco Twosday’. Yes, ‘Twosday’: A new deal box for Taco Tuesday which comes along with a sitcom-inspired ad campaign starring LeBron James and Jason Sudeikis. The $5 Taco Discovery Box (including a medium fountain drink) is available only on Tuesdays until June 4. A value-driven offer combining three of Taco Bell's most beloved tacos: the Crunchy Taco, the Doritos Locos Taco, and the new Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco.

Why were LeBron James and Jason Sudeikis chosen as the faces of the 'Taco Twosday' campaign?

In an exclusive conversation with THE GOODS, Taco Bell comments: “A few of the key themes for any Taco Bell partnership are authenticity and a passion for the brand. Jason Sudeikis recently worked with the brand to help challenge late-night perceptions with the launch of our Cantina Chicken Menu while LeBron James started his Taco Tuesday legacy last May when he joined the force as we worked to liberate Taco Tuesday for all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos. 

Both Sudeikis and James have been friends of the brand for years so bringing their talents and excitement together to celebrate the best day of the week was one of the biggest driving forces behind the Taco Twosday campaign.”


This sitcom-inspired campaign shoots swish (that’s a shot that goes through the hoop without touching the rim or backboard). And it's giving Saved By The Bell, Too Many Cooks, and Family Matters in one. Right up the alley of Taco Bell’s Millennial super fans - no danger of any “air ball” chants. Classic tacos and the new Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco join in the action and follow the adventures of two friends trying entirely new things on Tuesdays. 

The Jason Sudeikis x James partnership is masterful. Hacking Sudeikis’ improv comedy heritage helps the brand continue its avant-garde marketing. Cross-channel, they’re the best at strategic dribbling  - comedy to creativity, to comedy. They know their brand personality and customer’s humour—all the while exactly how to resonate by being witty and unapologetically sardonic.

Remember, this 30-second ad all springs from the thirty-year trademark of ‘Taco Tuesday’ and the campaign of ‘common sense’ to have the law changed. 

Interestingly, the brand is pushing eating Taco Bell at home. This fits with current trends. The New York Times reports that the number of people eating inside fast-food restaurants in the first half of 2023 fell by 47 per cent from the same period in 2019. And, according to a September 2023 report by Revenue Management Solutions, drive-throughs now account for two-thirds of all fast-food purchases. Taco Bell’s Defy in Minnesota delivers food to waiting cars through a system of plastic tubes, evidence of the brand listening to the post-pandemic needs of its customers who are ‘craving speed and solitude’.

Credit: The New York Times

What specific outcomes will define the success of this investment for Taco Bell?

Taco Bell says, “For this campaign, it’s really about continuing to make Taco Bell a part of consumers’ Taco Tuesday routines through unique offers and experiences. The success of any Taco Bell partnership, food innovation or brand experience will always come down to the fans and how they interact with it all.”

So far, since sharing the Taco Twosday ad on Instagram on May 13th, LaBron has garnered 356K reactions and 3,477 comments. 

What were the key factors in selecting the agencies for this campaign? 

“Taco Bell has a long history of disruption and innovation. We operate as one team, each sharing the same Taco Bell values, and together, we create and collaborate to engage fans in unique ways,” comments Taco Bell. 

How might the 'Taco Twosday' campaign influence Taco Bell's brand strategy over the long term? 

“We’re always looking to push the boundaries of what our fans expect from us and the ‘Taco Twosday’ campaign is no different. Forming an iconic trio between James, Sudeikis and the Cantina Chicken Taco has allowed us to break through and connect with our target audience, and we’re excited to continue innovating on how we show up for our fans in the future.”  

Credits:

● Sean Tresvant, Chief Executive Officer

● Evert Lee, Global Chief Creative Officer

● Taylor Montgomery, Chief Marketing Officer, US

● Ashley Prollamante, Senior Director, Brand Creative Strategy

● Amanda Barbosa, Director, Brand Creative Strategy

● Stephanie Rubin, Sr. Associate Manager, Brand Marketing

● Timothy Bergevin, Head of Partnerships

● Erika Prime, Entertainment & Sports Partnerships

● Nicole Weltman, Head of Social

● Christina Massari, Evergreen Social Lead

● Amy Durini, Chief Marketing Officer, International

● Jonathan Irizarry, Senior Brand Manager, International

● Kortnie Richardson, Brand Manager, International

Agency - Deutsch LA

Account Management

● Josh Jeffries, EVP, Managing Director

● Britt Luhrsen, SVP, Global Account Director

● David McKenzie, SVP, Account Director

● Megan Cavanaugh, Account Supervisor

● Leyla Yalman, Senior Account Executive

Strategy

● Sara Singh, VP, Strategy Director

● Nikki Cuerdo, Senior Strategist

● Lauren Murphy, VP, Social Strategy Director

● Elizabeth Weinstein, VP, Connections Strategy Director

Creative

● Matt Ian, Co-Chief Creative Officer

● Lincoln Lopes, Group Creative Director

● Felipe Machado, Group Creative Director

● Bo Belanger, Associate Creative Director

● Derek Smith, Associate Creative Director

● Cat Killedjian, Social Copywriter

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Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief