Actress Kirsten Storms displays her Taco Bell ring in an Instagram photo she posted.
(USA TODAY) Taco Bell is taking a page from Beyoncé's playbook: Put a ring on it.
The fast-food chain is betting that eight one-of-a-kind rings it sent to social media-savvy Taco Bell lovers will generate the kind of online chatter that makes people want to eat at its restaurants.
The nation's largest Mexican fast-food chain, known for clever social media, sent glitzy, unique rings engraved with special Taco Bell script to eight young female quasi-celebrities. They're semi-famous because they like to tweet and post photos on Instagram about all things Taco Bell.
Taco Bell executives decided it might make sense to draw more attention to its core cheerleaders online and seal the deal with a ring. Why not?
"Every day, we get tweets and Facebook posts from consumers asking us to marry them," says Jozlynn Rush, social-media community manager at Taco Bell, who created the unusual promo. "Our consumers are passionately in love with the brand and want to be in a relationship with us."
The promotional move, while not ground-breaking, is being widely watched by fast-food executives and social-media gurus who advise Corporate America.
"They are leveraging a theme from the popular (Beyoncé Knowles) song, (Single Ladies) Put a Ring on It," says Daina Middleton, a social-media consultant. "I suspect they would like to invite women into the Taco Bell circle -- and this is an innovative way to do that."
For Taco Bell, it's about a conversation with its core 18-to-34-year-old audience. "The way we approach social media is that every day is a new opportunity to engage with our fans," says Tressie Lieberman, director of digital media at Taco Bell.
Previously, Taco Bell did a vaguely similar custom-made promo when it sent a "Think Outside the Buns" Speedo swimsuit, along with one that said "Live Mas" to a high school swimming star who is also a Taco Bell superfan.
This go-round, Taco Bell sent custom-made rings -- styled in cursive, wire jewelry -- to eight trend-setting, female fans. Among them: Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustratedswimsuit model; Jessica Lu, an actress on MTV's dram-com Awkward; and Leah Cecil, Miss California 2012. The rings were designed for Taco Bell by an Orange County, Calif.-based jewelry designer.
A hand-written note accompanied each ring.
"Regardless of whether you consider this approach to be wacky or wonderful, one thing is clear: It seems to be working," Jessica Gioglio, a social-media strategist, blogged about the promotion.
Pictures of the rings have been tweeted and re-tweeted on Twitter and posted on Instagram. Taco Bell has 10.1 million Facebook fans, 500,000 Twitter followers and about 100,000 Instagram followers.
On those social-media platforms, fans are asking Taco Bell for the rings -- and more. What's next?
Executives won't say. But this may just be the beginning, says Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch. "This is not a PR push," he insists. "It's a thank you gesture."
The rings were hand-made with gold wire and sourced on Etsy.com. Below are the names of each individual and links to their tweets and Instagram photos:
Leah Cecil, Miss California 2012
Kirsten Storms, actress
Jessica Lu, actress
Chrissy Teigen, model
Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY