London had become a city without a bell, due to major construction conservation efforts on Big Ben, the city’s iconic clocktower. Taco Bell seized the moment to give back to Londoners a sound they’d been longing for, offering the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of new Taco Bell restaurants opening in London.

With the infamous clock under scaffolding for restoration, Big Ben’s popular chimes have also been under wraps. Taco Bell seized the opportunity to surprise and delight Londoners with a sound of their own: its signature bell digitized to recreate the Westminster chimes.

To create this new take on the chimes, we reengineered the sound of the Westminster Quarters, using the Taco Bell jingle. We worked with an audio engineer to compose the sound, using a balance between the Big Ben chime and 1980s FM synth sounds. We also added different audio effects to make the sound seem distant, while keeping it powerful.

Following this, multiple sets of custom-made speakers were installed around the area. They were designed to ensure mainly people walking nearby can hear the chimes, surprising Londoners as they passed the signs telling them Big Ben is temporarily silenced for repairs. Starting at 8 a.m. and finishing at 8 p.m., the chimes were triggered at exactly 20 seconds to the hour, making the new Taco Bell Big Ben chime accurate enough to set your watch to.

The stunt highlighted the world’s leading Mexican-inspired restaurant’s entry into London, one of the brand’s most requested cities to open a new eatery. The opening of the first Taco Bell restaurant in the city was met with tremendous fanfare—there were constant lines for eight hours with Londoners waiting to get a taste of the new Mexican joint in their city.

The Impact

  • 38 million social reach, plus thousands of interactions across social media channels
  • 160 media clips from UK outlets
  • 84% increase in searches for Taco Bell London
  • 8 hours of constant lines at the restaurants upon opening
  • 1.2 billion impressions