Taco Bell put itself forward in Super Bowl XLI despite an E. coli outbreak in late 2006 that made national headlines and cost parent company Yum Brands $20 million in operating profit over a three month period. Having addressed the issue with consumers using TV and print ads featuring Taco Bell President Greg Creed, Taco Bell used its Super Bowl slot for a typical Super Bowl purpose: introducing a new product, in this case the Taquito.
The "Big Game" in this ad by Interpublic's DraftFCB Chicago has nothing to do with football. Instead a pair of lions discuss the dining options in front of them, surprisingly focusing on taquitos instead of some oblivious human beings. (Anywhere but Super Bowl advertising, talking animals would be the surprising thing.)
The ad features the voice of "Fantasy Island" star Ricardo Montalban, who delivers the closing lines after one of the lions invokes his "sexy" delivery.
The chain returned to the Super Bowl in 2008 ("Fiesta Platter," again via DraftFCB) and many other years.
Director: Chuck Bennett. Production company: Big Lawn Films. Director of photography: Mark Plummer.
Draft FCB Chief creative officer: Tom O’Keefe. Creative director: Chris D’AMico. Art director: Teddy Brown. Copywriter: Cooper Olson. Agency producer: Tom Anderson. Account director: Leila Cesario.
Lion VFX: Animal Spots. Executive producer: Kathy Dziubek. Animation supervisors: Michael Killen, Jim Kreitzburg. Compositing VFX: Sight Effects. Executive producer: Melissa Davies.
Editorial: Filmcore, Optimus. Editors: Tiffany Burchard, Jim Staskauskas. Telecine: Company 3, Riot.
BRAND: Taco Bell
QUARTER AIRED: Q3