Taco Bell taps employees to spread Super Bowl ad

Looking for a social media boost, the fast-food chain sent its 2013 game-day ad to 150,000 employees.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 30, 2013 3:11PM

Yum's (YUM) Taco Bell spent $4 million on its 60-second spot in Sunday's Super Bowl, and it's aiming to milk the commercial any way it can. 

The company sent the advertisement to its 150,000 employees, aiming to benefit from the amplification of social media, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told CNBC. It's the first time since 2010 that Taco Bell has bought time in the game, which will air on CBS.

"They already started to tweet it and Facebook it to their friends," Creed said. When buying time in the Super Bowl, the challenge is to find "what you can do with it" to leverage the investment, he said. (To see the ad, click here.)

The spot, called "Viva Young," is so far gaining some rave reviews, with Adweek praising its "time-honored comedy" strategy of using "old people doing absurdly youthful things." The commercial shows 87-year old Bernie Goldblatt escaping from his retirement home and letting loose with some other oldsters, then capping off the night with a meal at Taco Bell. Taco Bell restaurant in Richmond, Virginia (Steve Helber/AP Photo)

Goldblatt was also the star of Taco Bell's teaser ad, which depicted him on a midnight scooter rampage across a football field. (To see the teaser, click here.)


Getting as much traction as possible from a Super Bowl ad is one way that marketers now aim to make the most of the huge investment, which this year cost about $3.8 million for a 30-second ad. Some advertisers paid more or less than that, depending on when they purchased the airtime and during which quarter.

But not all of Taco Bell's ads are receiving the same warm welcome as "Viva Young." 

The chain on Monday pulled another ad that urged people to skip the veggies during the Super Bowl and to instead eat tacos. The Center for Science in the Public Interest tweeted, "Shame on @TacoBell for disparaging healthy vegetables in its Super Bowl ad. High-calorie, high-fat tacos will not help you #LiveMás!”

In a statement, Taco Bell told ABC News, "When we realized the ad was misconstrued, we sided with the vegetables and pulled it."

--Aimee Picchi owns shares of YUM but has not traded in the stock for at least 12 months.

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