Taco Bell unveiled a new television ad that debuts Tuesday to follow up on its initial breakfast push that featured real-life Ronald McDonalds.

“We’re just getting started with breakfast,” said Chris Brandt, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, adding that the brand wants to “boldly disrupt” the category.

Brandt said the latest Taco Bell breakfast television ad takes targeted aim at McDonald’s with “a wink and sense of humor.” This next salvo, he said, is “to get people’s attention, turn people’s heads and hopefully get them to turn into Taco Bell” as the brand positions itself as the “Next Generation of Breakfast.”

“The overarching strategy here is to break up the routine,” Brandt explained. “We saw out there a sea of sameness in terms of breakfast. We think we have some truly unique items. … We feel like we offer a great alternative for people to try something new.”

In its first weeks selling breakfast nationwide, Taco Bell has found that its A.M. Crunchwrap, Waffle Taco, Cinnabon Delights and coffee offerings are its bestsellers, Brandt said Monday during a press call. He added that Taco Bell was surprised by how well “coffee has been really embraced” by customers. Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell will, as planned, roll out more coffee offerings.

Currently, Taco Bell’s coffee is priced at $1.49 and offered either hot or iced. The restaurants use single-cup brewers, so coffee can be brewed to order.

Taco Bell is keeping social media in mind with the rollout as well. Brandt said the breakfast packaging, for example, had an eye on portability, such as the 12-pack of Cinnabon Delights in a container that fits in an automobile cup holder, as well as on its photogenic qualities.

“One of the things that we knew that consumers love to do is to take pictures of the food and share the food, so we wanted to make sure we had packaging that was worthy of being shared,” Brandt said.

The initial media around the Ronald McDonald ads in the breakfast rollout was what Brandt called “an incredible ride.”

“We’ve got more than a billion earned impressions on social,” he said. “We’ve gotten more than five and a half billion earned media impressions. Just the spots on YouTube that we’ve put out there, we’ve gotten 3 million views of that.”

Taco Bell has already posted Tuesday’s ad on YouTube.

Brandt also noted that the company has more breakfast innovations in the pipeline. In earlier tests, before the nationwide rollout in March, Taco Bell had tested yogurt parfait, more coffee beverages and oatmeal, he said.

“They were good products, but what we wanted to do was to make sure when we went out, especially with an initiative this big, that we could really execute,” he said. “We wanted to pare down the menu to what was driving the overwhelming majority of sales.”

Some of those earlier test items could pop back onto the breakfast menu as Taco Bell works to broaden it, he added, but said the current menu “has staying power.”

While the call was aimed at follow-up breakfast advertising, which calls out McDonald’s by name and emphasizes a “Get With the Times” message, Brandt said Taco Bell also plans to innovate in other dayparts.

“We view breakfast as ‘in addition to’ everything else we are doing, not ‘in place of,’” he said.

For instance, Taco Bell will introduce a new flavor of Doritos Locos Taco in early May. “Fiery” was the last flavor to debut on the Doritos Locos Tacos platform, in August. It followed the Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavors. In the May DLT offering, the “innovation will be on the inside,” Brandt said, but he declined to offer further details.

Taco Bell is a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc., which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless