Taco Bell Winning With Doritos Locos Tacos

Published in CSP Daily News

Brand mashup raises Mexican QSR chain's "Buzz score"

LONDON -- Taco Bell's latest joint creation with Doritos, the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, is keeping the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain at its highest U.S. consumer perception levels with Mexican food eaters since the fall of 2010, said YouGov BrandIndex, which measures public perception of thousands of brands across dozens of sectors..

For the past 14 weeks, Taco Bell has steadily beaten the average for the top national QSR chains with Mexican restaurant-favoring consumers.

Unlike the original Locos Tacos launch in March 2012, Doritos did not share the consumer perception boost this time around. During last year's Live Mas campaign for Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos made substantial gains in perception scores, which lasted nearly two months after the product launched. Doritos gains were even greater than Taco Bell's. This time, Doritos perception was essentially flat after the introduction of the Cool Ranch spinoff on March 7, with Taco Bell collecting the perception gains.

Taco Bell and Doritos were measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" For this research, all respondents were screened for adults 18 or older who have dined at a Mexican restaurant in the past month. The top national QSR brand average includes Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Papa John's, Arby's, Burger King, KFC, Domino's, Popeyes, Long John Silver, Chipotle and others.

YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

Taco Bell has come far in Mexican diner perception during this campaign. Before Locos Tacos debuted last year, the chain's Buzz score was 11. For the past month, Taco Bell's Buzz score has hovered between 20 and 21.

When Locos Tacos launched last year in early March, Doritos reached a Buzz score of 29, its highest in a year. But this year, the Cool Ranch product produced different results for the salty snack--on March 4, Doritos had a 21 Buzz score, which has since dropped two points to 19.