Remember When Taco Bell Bought the Liberty Bell? No? Better Watch This

An ambitious marketing stunt that's undeservedly forgotten

Headshot of Robert Klara


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.



Robert Klara is a senior editor for Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.