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Taco Bell ushers in National Taco Day excitement via mobile-optimized ecards

Taco Bell celebrated National Taco Day yesterday with a mobile-optimized microsite that let users send custom-made ecards to their friends via social media and email in an effort to raise hype for the event as well as its menu items.

The site, hosted at, serves as a hub for the chain?s Taco Day festivities. In addition to the e-cards, users can also order food and locate their nearest restaurant.

?Microsites can help focus specific brand campaigns in ways that a broader website cannot,? said Vanessa Horwell, chief strategy officer of ThinkInk. ?Microsites are ideal for activations, limited-offer campaigns and calls to action that are specific to the brand.

?In Taco Bell?s case, National Taco Day is a creative way to own the message and campaign from start to finish, including the memorable ?Happy Taco Day to You? song. Brand ownership of the event and message also eliminates overt competition from other franchises.

?In this case, the calls to action ? downloading Taco Day images, sharing them across social media, and downloading the Taco Bell app ? are all part of a larger marketing strategy.?

National Taco Day
The National Taco Day microsite serves as a hub for all of Taco Bell?s Taco Day content.

The ecards are the main appeal, centered in the middle of the home page and encouraging consumers to share taco-inspired messages with their friends. Each one is oriented vertically to look best on mobile and can be saved and shared through any messaging app that allows sending photos.

In addition to the taco-themed ecards, the site has a number of other features designed to get customers in the mood for tacos. The site has an ordering option, letting customers order food directly through the site, as well as a store locator to help them find the nearest Taco Bell location to pick up their food.

Users can also view Taco-Day-themed content such as a sing-along video with a National Taco Day theme song.

The page also contains a link to install Taco Bell?s mobile app, providing an easy pathway for customers from the one-time use of the microsite to the more permanent app.

?Consumer access to the campaign via mobile and desktop encourages broad participation, social sharing, food orders and app downloads ? a variety of calls of action to deepen involvement,? Ms. Horwell said. ?Sometimes, the social sharing aspect can become a phenomenon all its own (remember Burger King?s ?subservient chicken??)

?Hosting a campaign on a microsite also provides better behind-the-scenes metrics for marketers about what?s working, what?s not, and how the campaign can be optimized in real time.?

Mobile microsite
Taco Bell is not the first brand to leverage the use of mobile-optimized microsites as a hub for a limited-time campaign.

Brands such as California Pizza Kitchen have used microsites as hubs for both digital and real-world campaigns, such as the one California Pizza Kitchen is running right now for National Pizza Month (see story).

Microsites are particularly popular around holidays, both traditional and more obscure, because of their limited-time nature. Natural Grocers is using a mobile microsite right now and up until Thanksgiving so consumers can preorder turkeys before the holiday.

?All effective campaigns today require a mobile component, for the obvious reason that consumers are most likely interacting with brands first and foremost on mobile devices,? Ms. Horwell said. ?The mobile environment is often the primary platform for catching their attention, and it can naturally lead to deeper engagement with the brand on other platforms ? ordering a taco online, downloading an image and sharing with a friend, signing up for the loyalty program, whatever.

?Any campaign ? whether it?s a short- or longer-term deeply branded campaign ? must be supported by a comprehensive strategy that includes more than just mobile or the app. The campaign must incorporate the website, a microsite (if applicable), the app, the loyalty program, the loyalty app, email marketing, social media, etc.

?Because today?s consumers interact with brands on myriad platforms, marketing campaigns have to be everywhere, too. It?s up to marketers to decide where to spend their resources to get the most impact and engagement.?