Joe Keery gets creepy in Taco Bell's latest Nacho Fries 'blockbuster'

In ‘The Craving,’ Keery’s character leaves Sarah Hyland and finds mayhem—and fries

Published On
Dec 17, 2020

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Taco Bell is heralding the return of Nacho Fries with its latest cinematic-style campaign, this time starring actors Joe Keery and Sarah Hyland. 

The fries are returning on Dec. 24 for their second run of 2020. Nacho Fries are Taco Bell's biggest hit. The chain claims it has sold more than 347 million servings of Nacho Fries since their January 2018 debut.

The trailer-style spot for a fictitious movie called “The Craving” shows “Stranger Things” star Keery’s fry-obsessed character leaving love interest Hyland behind as he begins a quest.

“Ever since they left my mind’s been a little … fried,” Keery’s character says as he packs his car, which has a vanity plate reading “NCHO FR1.”

The story takes a dark turn. “You don’t consume me, I consume you,” Keery screams later in the 60-second spot from Taco Bell creative agency Deutsch LA.

Taco Bell fans have come to expect the return of the chain’s Nacho Fries, which so far have appeared twice a year. The limited stints occur a bit more often than, say, the McRib’s annual return to McDonald’s. This year, Nacho Fries fans had to wait longer for the second run. Plus, there are fans disappointed that the Yum Brands chain cut other items, such as cheesy fiesta potatoes and the 7-layer burrito, from the menu earlier this year.

The last time the seasoned fries returned to restaurants was in January, before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted life in the U.S. Taco Bell, like other restaurants, focused on the basics for a while and didn’t bring the fries back over the summer. Now, even the movie-trailer style premise of the campaign feels a bit different, given few people can go to the movies in the U.S.

“In a year as difficult and uncertain as this one was, we know that consumers crave the comforts they love most,” Nikki Lawson, Taco Bell’s chief global brand officer, said in a statement about the return of the fries and the latest in a series of movie-trailer style spots. 

Along with Nacho Fries, Taco Bell is adding a $1 Loaded Nacho Taco, Taco and Burrito Cravings packs and a Bacon Club Chalupa to the menu on Dec. 24.

Nacho Fries have had a series of movie-themed spots. In 2018, Josh Duhamel starred in the first and second “Web of Fries” campaigns that launched in January and June. In January 2019, James Marsden took over in a space odyssey, “Nacho Fries: Retrieval,” and then, in June that year, Darren Criss was featured in a riff on music biopics called “Chasing Gold.” This year’s first Nacho Fries campaign, a spoof on a buddy action flick called “Supply & Demand,” didn’t feature celebrities.

"The Craving" isn't Keery's first star turn in a movie-themed restaurant commercial. In 2017, he portrayed Ferris Bueller in a Domino's spot from CPB.