IRVINE, Calif., April 1 -- Taco Bell kicked off a major advertising campaign Monday with a bogus announcement for April Fool's Day that it had bought the Liberty Bell and would rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. The company, which took out numerous full-page ads in newspapers as part of the stunt, disclosed it had made a $50,000 donation to help preserve the Liberty Bell.
The advertising campaign, the largest in its 35-year history, is designed to attract broad-based support with 'Nothing Ordinary About It' commercials stressing value and fast service and an upbeat jingle. They represent a departure from previous offbeat campaigns seeking to attract teenagers and young adults in the so-called Generation X. Taco Bell said its switchboard in Irvine, Calif., received thousands of calls about the hoax. 'Our new $200-million Nothing Ordinary About It advertising campaign is so extraordinary, so different and so intriguing that we had to launch the campaign in an unprecedented way,' said John E. Martin, chief executive officer. 'April Fools' Day is the only day of the year that you can have this kind of fun.' The Taco Bell donation will be used by the Independence National Historic Park, which maintains and preserves the bell in Philadelphia.