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Taco Bell Offers Free Tacos If Mir Hits Bull's-Eye

March 20, 2001|Greg Johnson

Taco Bell Corp., which in 1996 rang up a blizzard of free publicity with a April Fool's Day claim to have purchased the Liberty Bell, has hit upon an equally improbable publicity stunt. The Irvine-based fast food chain will offer a free taco to every American if the core of the Mir spacecraft hits a 40-foot-by-40-foot Taco Bell logo floating in the South Pacific. The aging Russian space station is scheduled to crash land in the region this week. Taco Bell purchased an insurance policy to cover costs should the spacecraft hit the logo. Taco Bell spokeswoman Laurie Gannon declined to state the cost of the insurance policy or the expected cost of supplying free food to every American. Though companies typically buy insurance policies to cover the costs of sweepstakes and other publicity gimmicks, calculating the cost of the Mir marketing gambit "was tough," Gannon said. "But we're covered for several million dollars."

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