Taco Bell turns to Snapchat influencers to tease Super Bowl ad

SuperBowl50-editorialSeriesv2Taco Bell is making Snapchat a core part of its super-secret Super Bowl campaign, teasing a mystery item coming to its menu next week. The blitz starts Saturday, when it will post to its account and to the accounts of high-profile users on the platform.

Top Snapchat personalities like Shonduras and musicians like The Mowgli’s will post messages to their followers telling them to join the story on Taco Bell’s account, which will tease the new mystery item ahead of the brand’s new menu item ahead of the first-quarter Super Bowl ad that will reveal the new item.

Taco Bell hopes the buzz brings newcomers to its Snapchat account, where it currently has 250,000 followers. “Those are our most engaged fans, so we want to give them the news first,” according to Ryan Rimsnider, Taco Bell’s head of social strategy.

Official Live Stories are one of Snapchat’s core products where fans share videos from special events — and brands can buy commercial slots alongside their content. Rimsnider considers the campaign a “hack” of that.

Taco Bell worked with Deutsch on the campaign with an assist from digital firm Zefr to identify the Snapchat influencers.

This is Snapchat’s first Super Bowl as a relevant social platform for marketers. It has sold out its official Live Story around the game with four sponsors, Amazon, Pepsi, Marriott and Budweiser. It also has a sponsored animated lens that people can put on their photos, but the advertiser has not been named yet.

Taco Bell is taking a more unofficial route to Snapchat with its campaign. The messaging and media app is increasingly relevant for brands looking to reach a young audience.

For 18- to 24-year-olds, Snapchat will be the second-most used social media channel behind Facebook, according to SalesForce. Thirty-one percent of that age group will be checking the platform around the game, but it is behind Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in every other age group.

“Snapchat is one of the fastest growing platforms with brands, and if you’re going after that millennial audience you go where they are,” said Chris Kerns, vp of research and insights at Spredfast.

Taco Bell has kept its new menu item under close guard since sending out a playfully redacted memo about the upcoming product launch last month. It also hasn’t revealed its Super Bowl commercial either, opting to wait for the first-quarter run time instead.

It is taking blind orders on its app, however, for people who want to be the first to try the new taco-type foodstuff when it hits stores Monday.