Taco Bell Picks Foote Cone for Local Ads


The new management of Taco Bell Corp. on Friday awarded the regional advertising portion of its $200-million account to Foote, Cone & Belding of Chicago.

Foote Cone beat out sister agency Bozell Worldwide, which has handled the business since 1994. The agencies are units of Chicago-based True North Communications Inc.

Foote Cone "has committed to making a significant investment in quickly building an experienced field team," Taco Bell Marketing Director Vada Hill said in a statement. Foote Cone will create local promotions for Taco Bell in regions throughout the United States.

TBWA Chiat/Day of Venice handles Taco Bell's national advertising. Irvine-based Taco Bell on Friday downplayed industry rumors that it is unhappy with its brand campaign, which shows edgy teenagers craving fast food. Since the campaign began, Taco Bell has recorded weak sales gains. "We know that there's a lot of rumbling in the industry, but Chiat/Day will remain our creative agency," Taco Bell representative Laurie Gannon said.

She said, however, that changes are underway in the "Got Some?" campaign. The Chiat/Day commercials that made their debut this summer--featuring pink-clad wrestlers and Chihuahuas--probably won't run again, Gannon said.

Taco Bell is now running commercials promoting a giveaway of Porsche Boxster sports cars--a campaign designed to drive customers into restaurants. Gannon said new brand advertising spots to be created by Chiat/Day will surface early in 1998.

A Chiat/Day spokesman wasn't available for comment Friday.

Taco Bell said that although the regional account will be handled out of Foote Cone's Chicago office, a portion will be directed through the agency's Santa Ana office.

Foote Cone held Taco Bell's local account from 1988 to 1994. Several Bozell personnel, including former Bozell Managing Director Bob Gale, have joined Foote Cone's Santa Ana office to work on the account, Taco Bell said.

PepsiCo. Inc. recently spun off Taco Bell and its other restaurant chains to create Tricon Global Restaurants. As part of the process, Tricon replaced longtime Taco Bell President John Martin with former KFC executive Peter Waller.

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