2017 Winners


Taco Bell Canada

Gold Public Relations Agency of the Year: Edelman

The Goal

On October 3, 2016, Taco Bell Canada launched a new product innovation, the Steak Doubledilla – a twist on its beloved Quesadilla. Working as an integrated agency team, agency Edelman deployed a strategic earned media program designed to drive awareness and trial of this innovation, while simultaneously generating press for the “SteakCation” fan experience. Leveraging the staycation trend (popular amongst millennials), the team set sights on a partnership with Airbnb to create the ultimate fan experience – a one-night stay at a Taco Bell location complete with unlimited Steak Doubledillas, video games and more.

The goals for this campaign were threefold: (1) help launch a new product innovation with maximum impact, designed to drive awareness and trial; (2) generate earned media exposure for the “SteakCation” contest; (3) further establish Taco Bell as the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain.

The Challenge

While the “SteakCation”/Airbnb partnership was groundbreaking, the execution was fundamentally about the launch of a new product. Maneuvering that reality was a key challenge, as the product needed to remain at the center of the idea.

The Target

Bullseye target: males, 24-years-old, who love classic comforts, whether truly classic or with their own modern spin. They embrace the normcore appeal into their work life, their homes and their cravings.

While the team expected Taco Bell Canada super fans to be excited about the Steak Doubledilla launch, they also anticipated broader engagement from Canadians due to the popularity of Airbnb. Tapping into Airbnb’s popularity and millennials’ affinity for the platform was very important to the success of this program.

Insights and Strategy

Through research into the brand’s core consumers’ behaviors, the integrated agency team uncovered a core truth: millennials and Gen Zs are increasingly taking staycations to rediscover their love for what they’ve always known – and in the case of Taco Bell, that was the Quesadilla. The Steak Doubledilla, the ultimate step up from Quesadilla, became the staycation you take with your mouth.

The Plan

To seize media and consumer attention, and ultimately encourage these audiences to try the Steak Doubledilla and enter the “SteakCation” contest, Edelman executed an earned media campaign designed to hit both national and regional markets across all mediums: print, online, broadcast and radio.

The following communications tactics were executed:

1. Develop and distribute a national press release highlighting Steak Doubledilla product information and “SteakCation” contest information.
2. Conduct strategic, proactive and reactive media relations leveraging Taco Bell Canada spokespeople.
3. Distribute 10 media kits to top-tier, Toronto-based lifestyle and food media (including “SteakCation” swag (branded robes and slippers) and product samples.

The Results

The earned media campaign far exceeded the ingoing benchmark of two million impressions by an astounding 21,000%. In total, Edelman garnered 422 million impressions through 155 media stories at a cost per contact of $0.0004. And social media coverage of the earned campaign generated an additional 35.8 million impressions. All qualitative goals were also exceeded.

Additionally, the Airbnb “SteakCation” campaign was a tremendous success in terms of sales figures and contest engagement metrics. Within 10 days, 2,400 Canadians entered the “SteakCation” contest (approximately 240 entrants a day). In total, the Steak Doubledilla achieved same-store sales growth of 12.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016, exceeding the business benchmark by 248.57%.

Partner Involvement

Creative lead and contest execution: GRIP
Paid media: MediaCom