If you ate a grasshopper, or cow tongue, veal brains or ostrich, you’d want to tell someone about it. Probably a bunch of people, in fact—either as a boast or perhaps to find an antidote.
Dos Equis beer was counting on just that viral impact when it launched its “Feast of the Brave” Cinco de Mayo truck promotion in New York City on April 26, giving away free tortillas with those palate-challenging fillings and helping people send the post-taste photos and updates to their own social media.
The campaign, which roved around Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn until Saturday May 7, was primarily an effort to stir up buzz around the brand, whose TV icon is billed as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”
“Dos Equis associates itself with a philosophy that life should be lived more interestingly,” said senior brand director Paul Smailes. “The Feast of the Brave taco truck is an extension of that brand proposition. Every element of the truck activation was designed to reinforce the key associations of the brand. The specially created tacos with different and daring ingredients were testing the more adventurous side of our consumers and giving them an experience they’ll share and remember.”
The menu was developed in consultation with Chef Domingo Garza, a Mexican Culinary Institute grad who operates the “Montaco” taco truck in Montauk NY and Miami. Visitors to the “Feast of the Brave” truck could claim up to three free tacos per person.
Smailes says the truck’s NYC stops on the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Midtown and Brooklyn were chosen because that’s where the brand expect4ed to find its target demographic. “They were selected based on where our target ‘social explorer’ worked, lived and went out at night. The demographic of our audience remained focused on adults 21-35, skewing toward males with highly active social lives and those striving to live a more interesting life.” The truck’s appearances were timed to lunch, dinner and the late evening hours.
In some instances, servers ran tacos up to offices where the workers tweeted that they didn’t have time to come down in person, Smailes says.
Interestingly, the truck served no beer or drinks of any kind. And because the campaign was primarily a branding effort aimed at drawing earned media coverage and creating social buzz, it didn’t contain any incentive designed to get diners into retail stores to purchase Dos Equis products. But the truck’s late-night stops were planned in part with key Dos Equis accounts in mind, so that brand ambassadors were able to suggest local watering holes where visitors could buy a Dos Equis.
The campaign included a social media element that allowed fans to track the truck’s visits on either Facebook or Twitter. The Dos Equis Facebook page also carried a live feed of video from the truck and an interactive map visitors could use to track the truck’s future stops. Clicking on a past stop brought up a gallery of photos taken from each location. The Facebook page also encouraged visitors to check in via Foursquare and Facebook Places.
Brand ambassadors provided through Dos Equis’ activation agency Mirrorball worked with the crowds to take those photos. Using a specially developed iPad app, they were also able to work with the visitors who could post the photos to their own Facebook walls and Twitter accounts.
Because it’s an alcohol brand, Dos Equis’ social media pages already ask visitors to declare that they are over 21 before viewing content. The Facebook page currently has more than a million likes and 188 “Feast of the Brave” photos.
Smailes says that the brand will now examine a range of key performance indices including social media buzz including engagement on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, earned media coverage, and basic foot traffic to the truck.
“Social dissemination and interaction is an important aspect of this initiative, and the results in the past ten days have been fantastic,” he says. “This was a focused test aimed at Cinco de Mayo in New York. However, we will be assessing the full results of the initiative and evaluating whether and how we should continue [sending] the ‘Feast of the Brave’ truck to other cities.”