Snapchat Is Now a Marketing Tool Like Everything Else

Snapchat and Taco Bell, two of America's most unhealthy and beloved pastimes, are now together at last. Why? To make Taco Bell some money. Maybe. Even they're not really sure.

But there's plenty of baseless enthusiasm and penis jokes:

Internet sour cream and/or dickpic enthusiasts were quick to reply to this message from a faceless PR goon:

But they're likely to be disappointed. Taco Bell, a company rep tells me, is just using Snapchat for a "special announcement today" (spoiler: probably a new kind of taco). It's asking you to become its "friend" on Snapchat so that it can send you a ten-second video advertisement for this taco product, solely in the hopes that you will go out and buy one or five. Taco Bell, to the dismay of many hundred teens around the world, isn't going to click through pictures of your friend's butt and spit out its coffee. It's a fast food company, not your sister's roommate.

As the company's rep puts it in admirably plain adspeak: "If you recall, [Taco Bell] did Vine to announce the Cool Ranch DLT, so it is definitely about TB being relevant and first in anything they can." The rep wasn't even sure whether Taco Bell will ever use the account again.

This is a gimmick. This is your (Tex-Mex?) uncle putting on a backwards baseball cap. That's fine! Fast food is all about gimmicks, and Christ knows I enjoy the hell out of a poison taco every now and then. But this doesn't represent some new path for Snapchat, which is still very much about sharing "an inside joke, a silly face, or greetings from a pet fish," not serving up ads. Nor does it indicate some revolution in fast food branding.

It's just going to be a taco video. Maybe you'll watch it. Maybe you'll buy one. Maybe we'll all eat one together. Maybe you'll make a new friend today—but it'll be a cashier at Taco Bell, not a faceless picture wizard on Snapchat.