Why Taco Bell’s ‘Viva Young’ commercial is surprisingly effective

I almost never watch live television — everything gets PVR’d so I can fast forward through the commercials. But sometimes a commercial will come on that make me watch it. Taco Bell’s ‘Viva Young’ commercial (which first aired during the SuperBowl) is that commercial.

This commercial is surprisingly effective. The commercial is quirky, so it captures your attention by putting elderly people in unlikely places and doing unlikely things. It tells a great story of one crazy night in the life of some party-loving retirees. And because it tells a story, it becomes more memorable and shareable with others.

Even though viewers (and Taco Bell’s target audience in general) might not relate to the age of the characters, the emotion generated in the commercial is enough to resonate with viewers anyway. When I was in my late teen years, I did exactly this stuff! I went out with friends, hit the clubs, ate at Taco Bell, and got home when the sun was coming up. Those were good times! This commercial does a great job of reminding me of those times, which creates a very effective sense of nostalgia while also being somewhat prescriptive (to suggest that you’re never too old to have that kind of fun). In my opinion, what really wraps this commercial all up in a bow is the end scene, when everyone is walking back to the retirement home as the sun is coming up. That last scene takes the commercial from “a-bunch-of-old-people-doing-young-people-activities” to a complete, compelling story with a very satisfying ending.

And, Taco Bell effectively places itself as one of several “must-do” events in a typical all-night party. I can tell you from experience that I never ever eat at Tall Bell… unless I was first out partying with friends. (Sorry for the confession, Taco Bell).

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