Thoughts on inventing new “good, bad” products.

Let’s just give Taco Bell the game before we start: to date, there are no better examples of indulgent, wry-grin-inducing, bad-for-you, fun-to-say/fun-to-eat, delightfully tacky product innovations or new product introduction or quarterly promotional product rollouts to compare with the Locos Tacos.


It’s like one of those Billboard songs or NFL stats that establishes a record nobody can break for years, even decades. It’s like Citizen Kane. Pairing their perennially lowbrow/high-interest basic taco with a respectably marketed junk food like Doritos resulted in a down-market-dwelling marriage everyone could appreciate—and sent innovation teams scrambling in fast food networks across the world.

In the Philippines, for example, where customers are presented with the option of ordering the new Double Down Dog from KFC.

Oh dear.
Oh, dear.

Yes, it’s indulgent, but I don’t think that’s a “wry grin” on the faces of potential customers. I think its more like “reluctant grimace.”

It’s just the latest example of products that are trying to be so over-the-top they create buzz and sales.

What’s a product innovation team leader to do?

1. Calm down.

2. Think about your restaurant in relation to other restaurants—why do your ideal customers prefer you?

3. Having answered #2., imagine dying and having to list what you did with your life to your deity, whichever it might be.

4. Stop trying to top tacos with Doritos for shells, because it’s making you panic—you can’t bowl a strike worrying about the other guys’ strikes.

5. Look at Sonic. Sonic does appropriate new product news really well.