Taco Bell wants real consumers as virtual characters for TV ad

IRVINE Calif. Mexican quick-service chain Taco Bell has launched a search for real consumers who want to be virtual characters in a TV spot scheduled to air during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 9.

The 30-second spot will promote the chain’s “Fourthmeal” late-night daypart and feature animated, 3-D images — commonly known as avatars — of the three winners of Taco Bell’s “TV Me!” promotion.

Using Gizmoz.com, the brand’s marketing partner for the promotion, consumers can upload digital photos of themselves to create avatars and record a 15-second lip-synched audition in their own voices.

The winners will be chosen by July 25. The promotion is the first time Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands Inc. and has 5,600 U.S. units, has jumped on the bandwagon of consumer-generated content for its TV spots.