The Time Taco Bell Sent 10,000 Doritos Locos Tacos To Alaska

Taco Bell has long been known as one of the coolest food brands online. The brand, which has over 7,000 locations around the world, regularly embraces memes and social media to connect with fans. Entrepreneur ranked Taco Bell no. 1 on its Franchise 500 list for two years in a row in 2021 and 2022. Taco Bell is also not afraid to differentiate itself or take risks. Taco Bell's former Creative Director Christopher Ayres told The Verge in 2019, "There's something to be said for just a rebellious, disruptive spirit, but always doing it with a wink, or some awareness and humor." It is this spirit that led Taco Bell to airlift 10,000 tacos to a remote town in The Last Frontier.

The story begins in 2012 with two people in the remote town of Bethel, Alaska, which has a population of about 6,000 people, pranking neighbors by passing out fake flyers announcing the coming arrival of Taco Bell in their town, according to the LA Times. Neighbors became angry when they discovered the deception. Instead of responding to the news negatively, Taco Bell took it as an opportunity to show off its brand power and airlifted 10,000 Doritos Locos Tacos to the town of Bethel, Alaska.

Taco Bell's #OperationAlaska brings joy to fans

The LA Times at the time tweeted a story "Taco Bell hoax: Alaska town (pop. 6,000) left reeling" to which Taco Bell responded, "We're on it," and dubbed the mission #OperationAlaska. In the story, locals lament being tricked with the Chamber of Commerce telling the Times, "We got excited, because we don't have any fast food chains out here, and the idea of Taco Bell coming in?" and Anchorage Daily News calling it an "evil hoax." Taco Bell was the talk of the town.

Taco Bell kept its word and brought a Taco Bell food truck via helicopter to the town. The brand then fed the entire town tacos and recorded the entire thing on social media. The town was fed a total of "950 pounds of seasoned beef, 300 pounds of lettuce, 150 pounds of cheddar cheese, 500 pounds of reduced fat sour cream and 300 pounds of tomatoes" for free, according to TIME. Despite all the controversy, the town got delicious tacos in the end and could enjoy Taco Bell nearby, at least temporarily.

Twitter user @MissDiedra said at the time, "You guys watching @TacoBell do their #OperationAlaska thing has restored my faith in humanity." We agree. More of this please. In an era before the rise of UberEats and DoorDash, Taco Bell tweeted at one customer in meme format, "We don't deliver often, but when we do, we do it big."