The restaurant didn't just quietly bring the fries back, either, they rolled them out in blockbuster style, releasing a fake movie trailer advertising the side.
The clip is the third "trailer" Taco Bell has released, with the first two ("Web of Fries" and "Web of Fries II") teasing that the fries would eventually be returning to the chain's menu. The latest iteration, "Retrieval," stars James Marsden in a sci-fi adventure, with the actor appearing as a dad recruited on a mission to retrieve the missing nacho fries.
He then suits up to head to another dimension, recalling happier times with his daughter, and nacho fries, as he heads into the void to execute his mission. The spoof is a little Arrival, a little Interstellar, and all camp, with Marsden delivering a pseudo-serious performance like Josh Duhamel before him, who starred in the original "Web of Fries."
"We were a long time coming in bringing nacho fries to the world," Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg told AdWeek. "People were wondering what took Taco Bell so long, and that inspired our own conspiracy theory, which was then executed in this over-the-top trailer for a fake movie (Web of Fries)."
"Now, we decided to bring them back again," she continued, "and we just felt like we've hit this very special and somewhat uncommon situation, as we all know in marketing, where there's almost a comparable expectation around the campaign as there is around this product."
The trailer does note in small letters that the fries are only available for a limited time at participating locations, which Thalberg said is because of Taco Bell's expansive menu.
"There was a strategic nugget [with this creative approach]. Customers love this product and want to know why we keep taking them away," she explained. "It's not to be challenging to our consumers. We just have such a robust menu, we're constantly bringing in limited time offers as well as the fabulous things that are on our menu every day, that we decided instead of ignoring it to playfully address it and make it the next inspiration for 'where did they go?' It's just a completely fictitious and over-the-top explanation."
Taco Bell's customers are clearly loving the faux trailers, as there have now been three of them, though Thalberg noted that the chain has no plans to turn the clips into a full-length offering.
"You know it's a pretty rare circumstance when there's an outcry on social media to see a full feature film," she said. "No plans as of now — but you never know."
Photo Credit: Taco Bell