Why Taco Bell Is Using Spanish in English-Language TV Ads





By Maureen Morrison (Ad Age)

Lionel Richie’s famed 1984 ballad is the centerpiece of Taco Bell’s current TV ad, but it’s sung as “Hola.”

“It’s surprising that even 20-year-olds know the song,” said Taco Bell CMO Brian Niccol. “They might not know Lionel Richie, but they’ll recognize the tune.”

Though it seems like an odd song for Taco Bell, especially in Spanish, the ad is introducing its new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos taco, which will be available March 7, and is part of Taco Bell’s largest marketing campaign to date. Using what Mr. Niccol called an iconic song translated into Spanish is the latest iteration of the chain’s larger “Live Mas” campaign, which is meant to convey Taco Bell’s food “not just as fuel, but food as an experience,” he said.

Said Mr. Niccol: “This is one of those [songs] you get without having to understand Spanish. It adds another level of context to the brand around the experience we’re providing. It’s blending cultures. We’re a Mexican-inspired brand and we continue to push the boundaries of what that means.”




Categories: NGL News

1 reply

  1. WOW! Talk a bad commercial get worse. I think that Taco Bell failed to realized that

    1 – the song was never translated.
    2 – that the 20 year old target market they’re trying to reach more than likely speaks English, so they know the song.
    3 – that most Latinos would prefer to eat a real taco, than Taco Bell
    4 – that most people don’t think of a pleasant experience when you talk about Taco Bell. Especially for 20 somethings, that would prefer a Jack in the Box tacos after a night of drinking.
    5 – The actor, though Latinos come in all shapes and sizes, does not look Latino (I know that I may get comments for this).
    6 – That “Grande Papi” implies more to a porn phrase, perhaps using something like “El mero, mero” or “Papi Chulo” which is along the lines of what the song implies to.
    7 – Everybody knows, even Latinos, that Taco Bell is not healthy. “Live mas”??
    8 – SXSW is great, but why not put some of that money on Latino bands, since that’s their target market with these ads? We represent some smoking bands, they should give us a call.

    They’re wasting so much money, I wouldn’t mind taking 2/10ths of that to really work on something effective.

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