What happened when T-Mobile and Taco Bell birthed T-MoBell

The inside story on one of this year's most unexpected brand mash-ups.

Campaign: T-MoBell
Company: T-Mobile and Taco Bell
Agency partners: Porter Novelli (PR, media relations), Edelman (media relations), Sparks (event planning, design and execution) 
Duration: July 23-25

Leading up to Super Bowl LIII, T-Mobile and Taco Bell teamed up to hand out free tacos to customers around the country as part of T-Mobile Tuesdays, T-Mobile’s customer appreciation program that gives out free stuff, deals or exclusive offers every single Tuesday.

This summer, the two companies kicked the partnership into higher gear, opening co-branded T-MoBell stores in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. 

Strategy
The T-Mobile-Taco Bell Super Bowl mash-up was a hit. TacoBell.com had its biggest online sales day ever and the T-Mobile Tuesdays app claimed the number one spot in the app store. To continue the momentum, the two companies teamed up again this summer to launch a series of co-branded stores. 

While T-Mobile Tuesday giveaways are only available for T-Mobile customers, "we wanted to bring the T-MoBell experience to anyone and everyone," said Clint Patterson, T-Mobile’s VP of PR. Visitors to the stores were rewarded with free tacos, slushies and mobile swag.

Tactics
The campaign was "a collaborative effort across both brands’ corporate communications, PR, social, marketing and events teams," Patterson said. 

The initiative was announced in a joint press release, video, and microsite on July 16, a week before the stores opened. In advance of the press launch, the team reached out to a broad range of media, including trade publications, broadcast and regional publications, as well as national outlets. 

Both companies promoted the T-MoBell stores on their social media channels. For those outside of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the brands worked to create an online experience, which included T-Mobile CEO John Legere delivering a T-MoBell-themed cooking video on Facebook Live. Released the Sunday before the stores opened, the video featured a queso dip recipe served alongside Taco Bell’s new Fire Chips.

T-Mobile also launched an RT-to-enter contest on its Twitter page, offering fans the chance to win a year of free Taco Bell tacos. 

Results
Collectively, more than 12,000 people visited the T-MoBell stores in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago from July 23-25. Across the three stores, more than 7,500 free tacos and 6,000 slushies were handed out. 

The campaign generated 333 earned media placements across print, online and broadcast, including mentions on Late Night with Seth Myers and coverage in USA TodayForbes, Us Weekly and Fast Company

On social, T-Mobile received 34,800 mentions on Twitter, while the hashtag #TMoBell was used 33,000 times. On Facebook Live, Legere’s T-MoBell-themed cooking episode was viewed 5.1 million times. 

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