Here is all you need to know about the most interesting aspect of this year's just concluded, nearly drama-free World Series:
It looks like Taco Bell's free-tacos-for-a-stolen base promotion was a grand slam.
According to Advertising Age, the chain spent $5.6 million--chump change for a major national advertiser--on World Series ads promoting their plan to give away tacos at 6,000 Taco Bell locations between 2pm and 5pm on Tuesday (10/30) if a base was stolen during the Series.
Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base in the fourth inning of Game 2, so the giveaway is on.
"It's pretty low-risk," said Ron Paul, president of restaurant consultant Technomic. If each of 6,000 locations gives away three tacos a minute for about three hours, Mr. Paul calculated Taco Bell would give away a maximum of 3 million tacos. He estimated they cost Taco Bell about 20¢, making the maximum total cost about $700,000.
And of course, Taco Bell chose its hours and dates wisely -- the free taco giveaway is comfortably between the lunch and dinner hours. The company said it didn't take out any insurance on the promotion, which indicates it wasn't concerned about financial risk.
And the buzz built by the promotion is only part of the program's upside for Taco Bell. One can safely assume that most of the free taco hounds who pack the restaurants Tuesday will order something to go with their free tacos; at the very least, they're likely to wash down the food with one of those sky high-profit margin soda drinks.
All in all, a pretty smart play by Taco Bell.
Next year, somebody ought to come up with a promotion tied to the possibility that Scott Boras will make a grandstanding ass of himself and try to upstage the most important event on the baseball calendar.
It could be a big draw. But like Taco Bell, they just better plan on having to pay out.