Made For TikTok EP 1 — How Taco Bell Turned Crisis into Opportunity Through TikTok

TikTok recently launched a video series called ‘Made for TikTok.’ In these videos, various advertising experts and company executives are interviewed. They share their insights and techniques on how they use TikTok for brand promotion in their actual professional careers through conversations with the host. 

The first episode features Matt Ian, Chief Creative Officer of Deutsch LA, who leads the creative team responsible for Taco Bell’s “Anti-Hero” campaign. The “Anti-Hero” advertising campaign for Taco Bell was honored with the inaugural “Best Use of TikTok” award at the 2023 Ad Age A-List Awards. Let’s take a look at what the “Anti-Hero” campaign is all about!

Taco Bell’s Viral Campaign -“Anti-Hero”

Anti-Hero” is a campaign formed by fans of Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza. The main reason behind this campaign was the removal of the highly popular Mexican pizza from Taco Bell’s menu, which left the fans expressing their dissatisfaction online. The collective strength and vocal opposition of these fans provided Taco Bell with an opportunity to collaborate with consumers who loved Mexican pizza, working together to reintroduce it.

Key Success Factors of Taco Bell’s”Anti-Hero” Campaign

1. Reviving the Anti-Hero Campaign

The success of the Anti-Hero campaign can be attributed to the rising emotions of protecting consumers, but it didn’t stop there. Renowned artist Doja Cat played a significant role in amplifying the campaign’s impact. She created a rap song about Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza and released it on TikTok, sparking discussions and further fueling the public’s emotions.

Unlike the conventional approach taken by many other brands when faced with consumer protests, Taco Bell chose to stand on the side of their fans. They broke the mold of having spokespersons speak on behalf of products and instead had Doja Cat, as a spokesperson, engage with the fans from their perspective.

2. Listening to Consumer Feedback and Sustaining Anti-Hero Momentum with a Musical     

“fter the release of Doja Cat’s rap, TikTok influencer Victor Kunda saw potential in developing it into a full-fledged musical. Taco Bell was quick to take note of this feedback and subsequently created “Mexican Pizza: The Musical.” This musical reignited the buzz and discussions surrounding the Anti-Hero campaign.”

3. The Greatest Achievement in the Anti-Hero Campaign: Turning Crisis into Opportunity!

In the Anti-Hero event, Matt Ian believes that by standing on the same ground as the consumers, they managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity and created a chance to engage with consumers. Therefore, he advises brand owners to pay more attention to consumer demands. For instance, in the case of the Mexican pizza, it was the fans’ initial request to reintroduce it, and the brand listened to this feedback and later brought back the Mexican pizza.

4. Two Key Recommendations for Those in Creative Agencies!

Finally, Matt Ian offers two pieces of advice to those looking to work in creative agencies. Firstly, for brand owners looking to manage TikTok, it’s essential to spend more time exploring TikTok and understanding the content and operational rules on the platform before execution. Only by becoming dedicated users can they effectively grasp the trends on TikTok.

Secondly, it’s crucial to genuinely understand your brand and how it should respond in various situations.

Advice for Brands Looking to Manage TikTok

To summarize the points above, we’ve outlined what brand owners should be aware of if they wish to manage a TikTok account. Firstly, a comprehensive understanding of your brand is crucial. This way, when your brand faces a crisis, you can promptly provide the right solutions.

Secondly, brand owners should always focus on consumer needs and actively engage in two-way communication with them. It’s not just about delivering messages but also absorbing consumer feedback and demands. So, it’s recommended that when creating videos, business owners should adopt a consumer-centric perspective, considering what themes align with their brand and can cater to consumer preferences.

We hope this article, seen from the perspective of various company executives, helps everyone understand how to approach activities, engage with the audience, and build closer connections. You can click here to view the full video.

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