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Taco Bell's WS Promotion: One Man Wants Them To Do More

Tuesday, 28 Oct 2008 | 8:55 AM ET
Family having Taco Bell
AP
Family having Taco Bell

Jeremy Milner works in public relations, so he knows how to get attention. Today, Milner is encouraging you to visit his Web site, Donate Your Taco.

Let's explain before you get scared about molding meat and browning lettuce.

Today, from 2 pm to 6 pm in your local area, Taco Bell will be giving away free tacos as part of the company's "Steal A Base, Steal A Taco" promotion. As part of the promotion, Yum, Taco Bell's parent company, is also donating $20,000 to the Boys & Girls Club.

Last year, Milner was hoping that Yum would also donate the retail price of a Taco (then 77 cents) for each person who signed up on his Web site—essentially telling the company to donate the Taco they would have claimed to the charity.

Milner says he got 10,229 names and e-mail addresses, which would have yielded $7,876.33 more in donations. I applaud Milner's idea, and, as he well knows, it will generate even more publicity for Taco Bell at a minimal cost.

"We're not coming out swinging," Milner said. "We're just trying to do a little bit more."

Milner said Taco Bell didn't respond to him last year. But Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch told us the company's $20,000 donation speaks for itself. They are donating the money in the name of Jason Bartlett, who stole the base to win tacos for America. Poetsch also said the company is encouraging people to make their own donations.

Go to Milner's Web site if you support his idea and think that a greater mass of people might get the company's attention this year. But I think there's a way to do this that would satisfy both parties. Here's my solution.

1. Empower The People. I like Milner's idea of making people feel like they are helping Taco Bell donate. So they should do that. Don't make a static donation, start at $0 and the donation will depend on how many people choose to donate their taco.

2. Use The Real Costs. Milner uses the retail costs when computing how much he deems taco bell should donate. If you don't use the retail cost of the crunchy beef taco, which is now 91 cents, it's easy to see that Taco Bell can easily make this donation and it won't add up to more than the $20,000 they are currently giving. I'm not sure how much the raw cost of a taco is, but I'm guessing it's about 35 cents. If Milner gets four times as many people to "Donate Their Taco" and the actual gross price is used, Taco Bell would only be on the hook for about $16,000. And they'd get the additional publicity that it was America that helped them do this.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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