On the BalanceofFood.com Twitter feed, I wrote recently "Who the BLEEP is buying the 100 Million Doritos Tacos Locos?"
To Taco Bell's credit, the company tweeted back, "America."
In 10 weeks, the company sold 100 Million Doritos Tacos Locos. The taco creation is a standard Taco Bell taco with an outer shell of Doritos. Simple yet very effective.
The synergy of Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands, an offshoot of PepsiCo, using Doritos, owned by Frito-Lay, which is owned by PepsiCo. is deliberate, like the tightness of the taco shell and the Doritos shell. There is also the synergy given that Taco Bell customers are also likely to be Doritos consumers. And the youthful audiences that attend the Colbert tapings also fall into the Doritos and Taco Bell demographics.
But why has this particular food combination done so well so quickly?
Those of a certain age remember when McDonald's counted how many hamburgers it had sold. As iconic as McDonald's hamburgers were (are?), 100 million in 10 weeks would have been an incredible feat.
KFC hasn't sold 100 million Double Down sandwiches. Burger King won't sell 100 million bacon sundaes. So why 100 million Doritos Tacos Locos?
Tacos have an advantage since ordering more than one doesn't seem greedy. Ordering 2-3 at one time wouldn't be shocking. Unlike McD's in the beginning, Taco Bell locations are all around and open late at night, when people would get the kind of munchies where a Doritos Tacos Locos sounds like a good idea.
Maybe the success of the idea is that under the influence of alcohol/pot, this sounded like a great idea. And even when they became sober again, the idea was still a good one.
In the "Thought for Food" segment, Colbert brings his audience into their inner fantasies: what would happen if you filled the Doritos Tacos Locos shell with more Doritos chips. Shortly after biting into that concoction, Colbert goes off-camera presumably to spit out what he ate.
"That's so good, I'm going to chew the rest of that later."
If I ate at Taco Bell more than 1-2 times a year, I would have tried the Doritos Tacos Locos by now. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to try it. I did learn from the Colbert segment that the taco has two shells: the regular shell and the Doritos taco shell. The fact that the Doritos shell is on the outside means you will get orange stuff on your hands and looks more marketable since the orange is on the outside, not the inside. While some may be eating the enhanced tacos for the Doritos taste, the fact that the Doritos Tacos Locos looks cool does not hurt its sales.
Perhaps this is why I am not as tempted to try this Taco Bell sensation: the taco looks better than it probably tastes.