Taco Bell's hopes sank in the end. By the fifth game of the World Series, Taco Bell's 15-foot-wide black-and-white inflatable target, floating in the bay just outside the San Francisco Giants' Pac Bell Park, went under after being bumped by too many boats hoping to catch a home run out of the park that never came.
The gimmick offered the promise of a free beef taco for every man, woman, and child in the US if a home run hit the target during any of the three games in San Francisco. While the free tacos were never served, Taco Bell did hit the mark with its publicity campaign.
Los Angeles-based Douglas Cohn & Wolfe devised the promotion. Rob Poetsch, SVP at the firm, said the agency searched recent headlines for promotion ideas and decided upon a World Series-related project just days before the first game.
Despite a rivalry between the Northern and Southern California teams, the agency's LA and San Francisco offices were able to work together to make the free-taco promotion a reality.
The agency offered AP an exclusive on the story, which led to more than 100 broadcast stories on the promotion.
This isn't the first time Taco Bell has promoted its brand with falling objects. Before working with Douglas Cohn & Wolfe, the fast-food chain held a similar promotion with a floating target in the ocean when the Mir Space Station came plummeting back to Earth.
And like the World Series promotion, those tacos proved to be equally elusive.