Taco Bell Sashays into LGBTQ+ Hearts with a Drag Brunch Series

Taco Bell Drag Brunch 2022_Table setting

The Cantinas were transformed into celebratory environments brimming with sequins and boas.

Social monitoring has shown a major overlap between the drag community and Taco Bell’s fan community. So when the fast food giant’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group suggested activating a classic drag brunch at one of its restaurants, the brand recognized an opportunity to both support its fans and make a lasting impact. And so a five-city brunch tour was born, offering attendees vibrant drag performances, an elevated version of cuisine from the $5 Bell Breakfast Box, ample bubbly, celebratory décor and an integrated partnership with It Gets Better, a nonprofit that aims to empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth. But how did the brand ensure the strategy would slay, you ask? Fasten your wig, honey. We’re taking you behind the scenes of the Taco Bell Drag Brunch Series.

The tour launched on May 1 at a Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas before hitting other Cantina locations in Chicago, Nashville and New York City, and wrapping in Ft. Lauderdale at the end of June. Each market was home to two shows, and reservations “sold out” in minutes, with members of Taco Bell’s loyalty program earning first dibs on the intimate events. For Taco Bell, flexibility was key to the overall success of the campaign, as the brand needed to maintain consistency across the program while working with different dimensions and floor plans at each restaurant. In Ft. Lauderdale, for instance, shows maxed out at 70 attendees, while in Nashville it was closer to 35, all based on the available space.

klarna-drag-brunch-teaserExplore Other Inclusive Strategies:

Those lucky enough to score a seat at the brunch table were treated to performances by local drag queens, while brand partner Kay Sedia (See what she did there?) served as host across the events. The incorporation of local performers ensured that while the brunches felt cohesive, there was a different vibe in each location. Whether the queens focused on comedic entertainment or delivered live opera performances (yes, that actually happened in New York), they tapped into the local culture to add some hometown flair.

It was paramount that Taco Bell deliver a truly authentic drag brunch experience, similar to the ones many of its customers attend, so the brand was dedicated to incorporating customary drag brunch practices, like tipping performers. Design elements were also intentional, and included sequined walls, tables, chairs and stools, boas, mirror balls and drag brunch-inspired art. Even the brand’s Breakfast Boxes were enhanced to align with the program, each of them covered in gold glitter, lined with purple feathers and filled with relevant swag (think: branded folding fans and compact mirrors) as an homage to a drag queen’s jewelry and makeup box.

Taco Bell Drag Brunch 2022_Pissi Myles(1)

Implementing traditional drag brunch practices, including tipping queens like Pissi Myles, seen above, was key to the strategy.

“One of the things that we wanted to do from the very beginning was to not make it a Taco Bell-ified moment, but to lean into the actual drag shows that a lot of our attendees are used to, amplify those moments and build them into a Taco Bell,” says Matt Prince, head of marketing communications at Taco Bell. “It didn’t feel like it was a corporate event. It felt like it was an extension of some of the shows that maybe you’ve attended in the past, just in a different setting.”

It was also critical that the tour not be perceived as pandering or rainbow-washing, but rather as one component of the brand’s long-term strategy for supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community, plenty of whom are not only Taco Bell fans, but employees. The brand’s partnership with It Gets Better was essential to demonstrating that commitment, and at each drag brunch, dedicated time was set aside to spotlight the organization and provide attendees with information on how to get involved. Taco Bell also developed a grant for the nonprofit to help expand workforce readiness resources for LGBTQ+ youth. The partnership is slated to continue well through 2023.

“If you want to connect and impact a community, then you have to show up consistently and you have to show up as more than just a drop in the bucket,” says Prince. “I look forward to doing more types of events like this. Maybe not necessarily a tour, but continuing that relationship with the community and building it out in fun, different ways that are reflective of the things that they’re into and that we can help support.” Agency: Cyrano Rox.


See The Taco Bell Drag Brunch in Action:
Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |