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The reach of YouTube won’t replace traditional advertising for the new DLT flavor. Taco Bell also produced its own TV spots, in-store ads and radio ads, created by Deutsch in Los Angeles, which will begin airing on Sunday, Lieberman said.

The YouTube effort, however, appeared to have an impact.

According to NetBase, which analyzes social media buzz, the new DLT got an estimated 23,467 mentions via social media between July 31 and the scheduled launch date of Aug. 22, and about 79 percent of those conversations were positive.

Almost all of those conversations – 99 percent – were on Twitter, and 60 percent of the mentions were by men in the U.S. One mention, NetBase noted, went so far as to say that the Fiery DLT was a “triumph of the human spirit.”

The 21 percent of mentions that were negative either called the product “so-so,” noted cholesterol content, said it burned their mouths or “made me angry.”

The chatter over the Fiery DLT didn’t have quite the reach of that preceding the March launch of the Cool Ranch flavor, which received 97,371 mentions from Feb. 13 through March 7, about 84 percent positive.

However, Lieberman noted that the products are very different in that Cool Ranch is a Doritos chip flavor that is well known and loved while the Fiery DLT is a bit of an unknown.

“For this one, people didn’t have the passion for the chip, but the were really curious about the flavor profile,” said Lieberman.

The latest taco shell was inspired by the Doritos Flamas chip, which is spicy with a hint of lime and available only in certain regions. “Flamas” means flames in Spanish.

Prior to the new DLT launch, Taco Bell had sold more than 600 million Doritos Locos Tacos since the product was first was introduced in March 2012, and the platform continues to be one of the most successful new-product launches in brand history.

A division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc., the 6,000-unit Taco Bell chain has the goal of doubling in sales over the next decade, from $7 billion to $14 billion.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout