It’s not often that an ad is credited with a fast-food chain’s success, but that’s what happened in Taco Bell’s last quarter.
Taco Bell CEO David Gibbs credited a spot starring Davidson with a boost in sales.
"Taco Bell brought in Pete Davidson to help drive consumer buzz for breakfast. This led to 9% transaction growth for the daypart," CEO David Gibbs said in a call with investors following the company's fourth-quarter earnings report.
The ad, which rolled out in early October, features Davidson, clad in a gray sweatshirt, apologizing for its breakfast offerings. “Taco Bell went a bit crazy with its breakfast,” Davidson says. “It was too much.”
In the ad, Davidson says what you need in the morning is simple food, like fluffy eggs, melty cheese, sausage, hash browns and “maybe wrap it in a warm tortilla.”
The advertisement wasn’t universally loved -- at least one version that appeared on Reddit. As one Reddit commenter noted, “I’ve never seen so much hate for an ad in my entire time here on this site. It was insane!”
But the spot, via Deutsch, Los Angeles, coincided with the chain’s plan to focus on more conventional breakfast items. As a result, breakfast sales helped the chain to grow its U.S. sales by 14%. Same-store sales came in at 11%, versus the expected 6.5%.
Among the other hits for the quarter was Mexican Pizza. Taco Bell sold 45 million Mexican Pizzas in 2022.