Doja Cat escapes from clown town in Taco Bell’s Super Bowl commercial

'The Grande Escape' takes a playful swipe at rivals and is the latest Super Bowl ad featuring a female singer and a remake

Published On
Feb 11, 2022

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Singer Doja Cat leads a breakout from a stodgy clown college in Taco Bell’s Super Bowl ad, the first for the brand in five years.

The Deutsch LA-led commercial, which will air during the fourth quarter, celebrates the brand’s rebelliousness while taking a playful swipe at rivals like McDonald’s. And, like a Frito-Lay ad set to air in the second quarter, it features a current singer putting her own twist on a decades-old hit.

Taco Bell's 30-second ad opens in a dining hall at “Clownus Conformus,” where a clown on stilts turgidly inspects a table of bored clowns idly spinning plates, juggling and napping on balloon animals before trays of untouched food. In another thinly-disguised jab at McDonald's, a public address announcer relays that the ice cream machine is broken. Doja Cat lifts a clown hat off the table, and makes a discovery.

The aggressive power chords of Hole’s 1990s alternative anthem “Celebrity Skin” sound as a carful of clowns piloted by Doja Cat crashes through a security gate and skids onto a city street. The singer’s sad clown makeup washes away along with her passengers’ wigs and outfits as they speed their way toward a Taco Bell. Back at clown college, the remaining students find what Doja Cat saw—an envelope of Taco Bell’s “Fire” hot sauce.

The ad, titled “The Grande Escape,” comes on the 60th anniversary of the chain’s founding.

“It's about celebrating that little bit of difference that lives in all of us and being your own unique and authentic self,” said Tracee Larocca, Taco Bell’s head of brand creative. “The reason we feel that way is that when Glenn Bell opened a taco stand he did so in a burger world, so the core of our DNA is being a little different—and there’s some power in being different. It’s exciting and fun, it’s a little rebellious, and it makes you think you can find creative solutions to your problems.”

Larocca described a collaborative process in identifying an appropriate song to accompany the ad. Doja Cat expressed an interest in performing a cover outside of the hip-hop and pop fields she is best known for. “She’s a big Courtney Love fan, and so she brought the idea to cover 'Celebrity Skin,' bringing her own style to that,” Larocca said. “It’s a song about bearing one’s true self regardless of what others might think about you.”

Doja Cat reworked the lyric in collaboration with Love, switching up Love’s original couplet “A walking study/In demonology” to “A walking fire/You can’t get rid of me.” Travis Barker of the band Blink-182 plays drums on the track.

The campaign, which Larocca described as crafting a new definition for Taco Bell’s longtime “Live Más” slogan, will rely on Doja Cat to engage audiences on social media, participating in what Larocca called a “shop drop,” to be unveiled on Sunday with exclusive rewards for the chain’s loyalty members. This reflects one vision from the chain’s new global brand leader, Sean Tresvant, who came to Taco Bell from Nike’s prestigious Jordan brand a month ago.

“Sean brings a unique perspective as to how we can really lean into fully integrating our programs so that they come to life in film, in our restaurants, and in our loyalty programs,” Larocca said. “He's a champion of creativity and a big fan of the brand.”


Feb 11, 2022
Client :
Taco Bell
Agency :
Deutsch LA
Chief Brand Officer :
Sean Tresvant
Global Brand Creative :
Tracee Larocca
Sr. Director of Advertising :
Ashley Prollamante
Sr. Manager of Advertising :
Amanda Barbosa
Sr. Associate Manager :
Kristen Powell
Group Account Director :
Matt Matzen
Account Director :
Kelly Childers
Account Director :
Britt Luhrsen
Account Supervisor :
Natalie Brock
Account Executive :
Rewdjety Redick
Assistant Account Executive :
Chuckie Presto
Executive Creative Director :
Danger Bea
Creative Director :
Stephanie Kohnen
Senior Art Director :
Karter Krasselt
Senior Copywriter :
Eric Scott
Art Director :
Lauren Piccirillo
Copywriter :
Josh Peterson
Group Strategy Director :
Kelsey Karlson
Senior Strategist :
Sara Singh
Executive Producer :
Paul Roy
Senior Producer :
Chris Schaldenbrand
Music Director :
Chip Herter
Music Supervisor :
Will Eichler
Senior Broadcast Traffic Manager :
Courtney Tylka
Senior Broadcast Traffic Manager :
Ana Barraza
Executive BA Manager :
Joanna Lee
Production :
Biscuit Filmworks
Director :
Los Perez
Partner / Managing Director :
Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer :
Andrew Travelstead
Producer :
Max Knies
Head of Production :
Sean Moody
Director of Photography :
Alexis Zabe
Production Designer :
Michael Gaw
Editorial :
Cut + Run
Editor :
Jay Nelson
Assistant Editor :
Kelly Henson
Managing Director :
Michelle Eskin
Executive Producer :
Amburr Farls
Head of Production :
Brady Fiero
Producer :
Brady Fiero
Color :
The Mill
Colorist :
Daniel De Vue
Senior Executive Producer :
Meghan Lang Bice
Head of Production/Color Produce :
Gabriel Wakeman
Color Associate Producer :
Alex Zhao
Color Assist :
Zack Wilpon
Sound :
Formosa Group
Sound Designer and Mixer :
John Bolen
Executive Producer :
Lauren Cascio

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