Taco Bell is offering a comic book on its Tumblr channel as part of its campaign supporting the May 8 nationwide launch of its latest flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos (DLT), Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch.
The comic book -- consisting of 24 animated GIFs created by artist Ashkhan -- is the first Tumblr GIF comic book from a brand, according to Taco Bell.
The comic, illustrating the "spicy adventure" of "Johnny DLT" (the character's reactions during and after eating a Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch DLT, or SCCRDLT), is being featured in a backward chronological order of end to start, beginning today.
Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt noted that the brand has built a reputation for being willing to push the envelope in social media, and with the campaign for this new product, it's taking its established platforms, like Tumblr, to the next level.
The new SCCRDLT variety -- a limited-time offering, says Taco Bell -- will also be supported by the brand's first Internet scavenger hunt, in late May. Participants will earn chances to win prizes such as custom-designed Taco Bell socks from The Hundreds and a DLT-themed T-shirt from PacSun. The hunt will be promoted on the brand's social channels leading up to its kick-off.
There's also new TV creative. “Black Sheep,” a 30-second spot from Deutsch LA, directed by Craig Gillespie, shows the contrasting behaviors of the tamer and wilder (more "loco") members of pairs of twins, to convey that the new flavor is the "spicier alter ego" of the original Cool Ranch DLT. The spot features “Dangerous (feat. Joywave),” a song from Big Data. That band is part of Taco Bell's "Feed the Beat" initiative, in which it lends support and exposure to new bands, including sometimes featuring them in its advertising.
In addition, the SCCRDLT launch will be supported by digital advertising led by Deutsch L.A., in-store point-of-purchase promotions and packaging by FCBLA, and social and public relations support from DigitasLBi and Taylor, respectively.
Last month, Taco Bell started building buzz for the new DLT by announcing the product's nature and its May release date in a novel way.
The brand's social media team and Deutsch used Snapchat's Stories feature to create a several-minutes-long, snap-by-snap live film (a Snapchat first, says Taco Bell). The final installment of the film was uploaded just prior to the MTV Movie Awards telecast, of which Taco Bell is a longtime sponsor. Prior to a commercial break, an announcement on the program encouraged the show's viewers to view the Snapchat video to get the news about the newest DLT flavor.
The new SCCRDLT features spicy shredded chicken inside the popular Cool Ranch Doritos taco shell ($1.59 for regular or $1.89 for a "supreme" version). A lower-calorie, lower-fat option (Fresco Style) will also be available.
This is the fourth offering within the DLT line (the others include Nacho Cheese and Fiery). With more than 825 million sold since March 2012, DLT is Taco Bell's most successful product platform to date.