If you were to read the comments on one of HuffPost Food's stories about the much-ballyhooed Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell, you might get the impression that most people were aghast at and offended by the snack. But a new study of consumer attitudes, by research firm BrandIndex, shows that the release of the Doritos Locos Tacos actually boosted brand perception of both Taco Bell and Doritos by a considerable degree -- at least temporarily.
BrandIndex regularly asks consumers whether they've recently heard negative or positive things about different companies. The company uses the responses to generate a score for brand perception, which ranges from -100, for companies perceived as completely negative, to 100, for those perceived as completely positive.
Before the release of Doritos Locos Tacos, the perception of Taco Bell was pretty crummy. Among regular visitors of Mexican restaurants, it registered a BrandIndex of 14. Doritos was slightly better off, with a 27 among those same consumers.
After the March 8 release of Doritos Locos Tacos, though both scores skyrocketed. Taco Bell hit a high of 32, while Doritos hit 50, both above average in their market sectors. The scores have since fallen back down a bit, but they're still higher than they were before the release of the tacos.
BrandIndex also released data that applied to all Americans over the age of 18, including those who don't regularly visit Mexican restaurants. Pre-Doritos Loco, they gave Taco Bell a BrandIndex of 9. Afterwards, that number climbed as high as 20, and it's still at 16.
No wonder Taco Bell is planning on adding Cool Ranch taco shells to its portfolio!
Here's a chart of the BrandIndex values for Taco Bell and Doritos over the past few months:
And just for fun, here's our slideshow of other fast food items topped with Doritos!