TACO BELL DOUBLES MTV UPFRONT SPENDING

$15 Million Deal Gives Fast-Food Chain Awards Shows, 'Osbournes'

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Taco Bell sealed a $15 million upfront deal with Viacom's MTV Network that doubles the fast-food chain's 2001 investment.

The package gives the Yum Brands unit exclusive fast-food sponsorship of the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards and the 2003 MTV Movie Awards, plus time on the network's sizzling The Osbournes reality series during fourth quarter 2002 and first quarter 2003.

"We now have the three preeminent big events for our heavy user, fast-food user demographic [age 15 to 34]," said Debbie Myers, vice president of media services, entertainment and licensing at Taco Bell Corp.

While the chain has

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previously aligned with the video music award show, Ms. Myers said she had been "coveting" the MTV movie event, which rival Wendy's International sponsored this year, when the show delivered its highest ratings ever.

Cable reach
This deal, like Taco Bell's earlier expanded sponsorship of ESPN's Summer and Winter X Games, will hopefully keep luring that young demographic. And because most fast-food diners are increasingly difficult to reach with broadcast networks, "cable is the best way to reach that audience," Ms. Myers said.

"That we'll get six times the [young audience] ratings going into summer ... is a beautiful thing," she said. "When you look at the average ratings of the Osbournes," it is "higher to our core target than any network TV."

Meanwhile, This weekend Taco Bell also launches its Border Bowls line to kick off its summer promotional push that includes a tie-in with the July 26 film premiere of Austin Powers Goldmember from New Line Cinema.

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