Dolly Mahayan

Will Indians fall in love with Taco Bell?

The fast food trend in India is growing at a breakneck speed. The food consumption pattern among Indians is changing dramatically and that’s why many international players have entered Indian market over the past few years. Fast food eating joints serving Burgers and Pizzas are quite popular among people.

One of the pioneers in Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) space, Yum Brands, operates three major food chains in India, namely, ’Pizza Hut, 'KFC', and 'Taco Bell'. Both Pizza Hut and KFC, entered the Indian market in the 1990's, whereas by the time Taco Bell entered players such as Mc Donalds and Dominos had established themselves as a favoured alternative to regular food.

The Mexican speciality chain, began its India operations in 2010 with only two outlets in Bengaluru with plans were to open 100 units by 2015, but couldn't succeed. At present, Taco Bell caters to a small chunk in the market with 35 outlets across the country. The brand is looking to capture a massive footprint, this year, it announced its plans to open 600 outlets in the market over the next 10 years. The brand’s strategy seems quite far-flung, at a time, when India's fast food industry is performing well.

The brand is aggressively pushing towards achieving its goal and has launched various campaigns recently to gain popularity and familiarity with Indian customers.

Just like other QSR chains, the company is taking the influencer marketing route. Earlier this year, it brought on-board actors from the web-series, ’Little Things’, Dhruv Sehgal and Mithila Palkar for its new offering ‘Quesalupa’.

The brand has already launched Big Bell Box, which offers a variety of Mexican food in one single box, just like KFC’s Big Box Meal. To popularise it among consumers, especially millennials, the company began “streaming” the second season of BIG BELL BOX on the digital medium. For this campaign, too, the brand has once again relied on leading web-series stars — Radhika Apte, Vikrant Massey and Kubbra Sait to develop brand storytelling.

The campaign showcases, on how actors react when they are not cast for a particular role. Radhika Apte expresses her FOMO (fear of missing out) at not being cast for the ‘biggest second season’ ever. Vikrant Massey builds his case by saying that he wants as much variety in his career choices as there is in the Big Bell Box! Kubbra Sait adds another fun twist with her ‘audition tape’, suggesting how she’s already worked with Taco Bell before (for the brand’s popular #MakePotatoGreat again campaign last year) and should not even be giving this audition to be cast for the upcoming season!

We spoke to brand experts to get their thoughts on the latest campaign by Taco Bell and ask if the campaign will strike the right chords with the audience?

Pranesh Mishra
Pranesh Mishra

Pranesh Misra, chairman and managing director, Brandscapes Worldwide, defines it as, “Very clear that they are targetting a sharply focussed audience who are more open to food experimentation than average Indians. The key objective is to generate trial and repeat consumption. I think the campaign does well to arouse curiosity that would generate trial.”

He further goes on to say, “The depiction of craving could have been better. The focus seems to be on creating a smile and demonstrate the range. Maybe craving was a secondary objective.”

Jagdeep Kapoor
Jagdeep Kapoor

Jagdeep Kapoor, chief managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, believes, “It is a marketing attempt to create and popularise the category and increase consumption. The demand will grow, though slowly and steadily. Indians like world cuisine and like to experiment occasionally.”

Mishra adds, “Taco Bell is trying to carve a niche within this market. I think this is a great first step to enter the crowded QSR space. Will it be an overnight success? Probably not, new food concepts take years to become mainstream. At this time if they can increase trial and more frequent use, they will be on the path to success”.

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