Ad Age says Taco Bell is “2013 Marketer of the Year,” and I agree with Ad Age. I might even chip in 2012.

I’m sure Ad Age will be pleased.

They so hate when I dissent.

Marketer of the Year. Yes: yes, it was Taco Bell, former late-night talk-show punchline and current juggernaut.

Just peruse this Ad Age feature article from today, and you’ll be struck anew that Locos Tacos is only the beginning of a turnaround that includes Lorena Garcia’s attempt to diversify the audience away from millennial males; a Super Bowl spot and a new, better tagline; and approximately one ton of effective, clever, satisfying social media and digital experimentation—which is seven-eighths of a ton more than most restaurants are successfully, regularly doing.

I don’t think Ad Age even mentions their 3D cinema spot introducing Cool Ranch Locos Tacos, or 65 YouTube ads to introduce Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos.

The article makes it clear they haven’t abandoned TV, and they keep making ads that contain decent it’s-fun-to-be-a-slacker-millennial-if-such-a-creature-actually-demographically-exists humor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2VHTievx-g

I don’t know. Can’t you feel the old-school TV-ad gears clunk-clunk-clunking and clanking underneath that last ad the whole time? I mean, it’s fine. These are professionally fun ads. (“All right! We’re having professional fun!”) If I were sitting with the people who made it I could find all kinds of nice things to say about it to be polite. But… maybe it’s the medium. Maybe it lacks freshness, in a McCluhan-esque way.

It’s rare that Taco Bell is anything but fresh nowadays.

Because: look at everything they’ve been doing the past couple years, starting with that Alaskan air lift, up through the South-by-Southwest crowd-sourced rockumentary: making fans feel special by giving them a sneak peak at new flavors, responding to fans, responding to critics, and providing generally entertaining (but relevant) content.

I don’t know you, Tressie Lieberman, Taco Bell director-digital marketing and platforms, but someday I’d like to shake your hand.

After wiping off the Doritos dust, of course.