With social media setting the agenda nowadays, brands will go to ever greater lengths to get attention. Why else would Red Bull sponsor a guy jumping 24 miles from the edge of space to earth? Or Cheetos open a fine-dining restaurant serving… Cheetos? But head-turning stunts are not an invention of the social media era.
In fact, one of the chanciest marketing gambits took place 22 years ago—roughly a decade before the world had ever heard of Twitter or YouTube. The jig belonged to Taco Bell, and it’s all but forgotten today. But for a couple of days in April of 1996, it captured the country’s attention like nothing else.