This past New Years Eve, CEO, Brian Niccol, decided to launch Taco Bell’s newest marketing initiative different from the rest. During the college bowl playoff games, Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl, Taco Bell introduced a new $1 million scholarship aimed at a specific demographic. Interestingly enough, they were targeting students who have nothing to do with college football. Instead, Taco Bell’s Live Mas scholarship is aimed at young students whose primary talents reside outside of academics and athletics. The tasty taco franchise dedicates this new marketing campaign to help make young people better as part of the brand’s purpose.
“We were going through the ideas, all of a sudden these guys got up from Bow & Arrow, a production studio, and the opening board was ‘Why have scholarships gone to just academics and athletes?'” said Niccol. “And it just hits you how true that is. Many people who make a real impact on the world don’t fall neatly into those two boxes.”
Considering the two most common sources of college scholarships are academics and athletics, Taco Bell’s focus on students with non-traditional talents or ambition is putting a different approach on embedding itself within a culture as it’s being created. It is a way for the brand to build further ties with its young target demographic.
Taco Bell’s Chief Creative Officer, Matt Reinhard supports this cause saying that, “Whenever we bring in outsiders, or people who have specific talents or insights in the creative world, we tend to get things that don’t feel like advertising. A lot of the talent, content creators, and publisher-types are folks who live outside the realm of advertising but still had their finger on the pulse of culture.”
So far, Taco Bell’s new scholarship initiative has created traction. In just over a few weeks, Live Mas Scholarship has already received a substantial amount of applications. With the goal of spreading the $1 million scholarship fund across hundreds of students in increments of $5,000 to $25,000, Taco Bell plans to create ready-made stories to tell once the students are chosen. “My hope is, whomever the winners are, we can highlight and share their stories,” says Niccol. “Teens and twenty-somethings are just so full of potential and sometimes they just need someone to say they believe in them.”