Ian Cohen: Did Taco Bell Succeed In Reinventing Grandma? [Super Bowl 2013]

Ian Cohen: Did Taco Bell Succeed In Reinventing Grandma? [Super Bowl 2013]

The fast food company shows its viewers another side of the older generation.

Ian Cohen
  • 10 february 2013

Let me start my saying, I think my grandma is one of the coolest ladies I know. I’m not kidding. She is active, gets excited about taking trips and has a ton of friends.

However, I don’t think any of her 80-year-old friends are getting tattoos and dancing away the night at club.  The visual of that just seems so crazy, I couldn’t imagine seeing that, until I did:

That’s the point in this year’s Taco Bell Super Bowl Ad, where Bernie Goldblatt and his crew break out of the retirement home for some late night fun. It’s a mix of ridiculous visuals with the idea that we’re never too old to push the envelope.

Besides the outrageous thoughts of elderly people breaking the law, what I noticed is the lyrics to Fun’s “We Are Young” are in Spanish and the ad itself ends with the simple theme of “Live Mas.” My wife actually asked me. “Why is the song in Spanish?” I think its an interesting observation because this is a brand that made the slogan, “Yo quiero Taco Bell” so famous and got people everywhere speaking Spanish when they were just repeating these buzz words. I remember thinking, I can say, “Yo quiero taco bell” and know what it means! So this spot to me is a huge fall back to those days, rooted in being a Mexican restaurant chain. For a brand that has struggled to find its next tagline since the talking Chihuahua, will “Live Mas” stick this time is the question?

Right after the ad aired, I noticed Taco Bell getting tweets I assumed they were hoping for, like from @bandproblems: “That’s going to be me when I’m old.” And, @andy_cabdys: “that @Tacobell commercial just made my life.” Or when @chevrolet tweeted, “Awesome big game ad @tacobell! Old or Young we #livemas.”  Which brings me to the point that the hash tag of #livemas seems to fit in well with any age group. Which might be key.

Diving deeper into the viewing experience, you then recognized the song in the spot, but wait, it was in Spanish. So then you tried to figure out the lyrics but subsequently forgot about the song because you were so focused on the characters. After 60 seconds you left saying, ‘I watched that whole ad and what was that hash tag again?’

It’s been a bumpy road for Taco Bell leading up this year’s Super Bowl. It had planned to run ads making fun of veggies. It got pulled. So now Taco Bell has gone down the smart road of saying it’s about a feeling, an emotional connection and not an eat this, not that war. In the end, this spot has left two things in my head. One, the visual of Grandma dirty dancing and the fact that the song by Fun, even in Spanish is catchy. #LiveMas.

Taco Bell

Check out more Super Bowl 2013 coverage on the site today, and join us for a Google Hangout at 2pm EST on


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