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The Seven Best Words You Can Ever Hear From a CMO

Written By: Adam Nowak, VP, creative director & copywriter at Draftfcb Orange County

On June 14th, we heard about the Taco Bell hoax in Bethel, Alaska.
On June 15th we had a huge idea and a full-blown presentation ready to share with our clients. Later that evening, we heard the best six words you can hear from a CMO ever: “I love it. Go make it.”
On June 29th we were in Bethel, Alaska working out a shoot that included 14 cameras, and 950 pounds of seasoned beef, with our directors, The Malloys of HSI.
On July 1st we airlifted in a Taco Truck by helicopter to the remote, small town and served 10,000 tacos to the entire community.
And on July 3rd, we had a finished,blockbuster commercial that was ready to air during one of the most watched sporting events of the year.
In between those dates was one of the most hectic, chaotic, draining and rewarding processes our team has ever experienced.
It started off with “How the hell are we going to get a Taco Bell into a town that isn’t accessible by land?” Send it in on a barge? Kinda boring. A plane? Ehhh. How about we airlift a Taco Truck in by an American twin engine tandem rotor, heavy lift helicopter like the Boeing CH47 Chinook? Perfect.
This plan was sailing smoothly until we found out we couldn’t get a Chinook into Bethel. Our next best bet was using the workhorse Huey Helicopter. Again, this was going great until the Denali wildfires started to spread in Alaska.  Every helicopter in the area was being used to extinguish the fires. Because of this, we almost had to completely abort the mission. But the next morning we woke up to the news that the fires were contained…and our helicopter was good to go.
A team of art directors and mechanics worked tirelessly to get our Taco Truck ready to be transported, and what they had to do to get it under the weight requirements to be carried by the Huey would rival the skills of a NASCAR pit crew.
Besides the driving rain that lasted all day on July 1st, the shoot and the event went off without a hitch. Between the production team and Taco Bell’s event planning staff, the x’s and o’s of this operation were executed flawlessly. It was awe-inspiring to watch. And after seeing the big, toothy smiles on the faces of the kids of Bethel, some misty eyes even formed in the crew and people close to the production
That night, right after we wrapped, the agency team and editor flew back to Los Angeles on the red-eye. The time on the plane was spent sifting through two days and 14 cameras of footage. We landed at 6:30 a.m. and were editing by 7.
In the next 22 hours we cut 36 different edits until we decided on one we were unanimously proud of. At 9am the next morning we presented the “Operation Alaska” spot to our clients. And we heard the seventh best word you can ever hear from a CMO.
Taco Bell:
Brian Niccol, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer
Tracee Larocca, Senior Director, Brand Experience
Aron North, Senior Manager, Brand Experience
Melanie Fitzgerald, Associate Manager, Brand Exp.
Will Bortz, Sen. Manager, Sponsorships & Licensing
Rob Poetsch, Director, Public Relations
Nick Tran, Social Media Lead
***All of the above were in attendance at shoot.***
Agency Credits: 
Teddy Brown, SVP, Executive Creative Director
Jeff Maerov SVP, Group Creative Director *
Yolanda Cassity, SVP, Management Director
Thomas Anderson, VP, Executive Producer*
Adam Nowak, VP, Creative Director *
Adam Tompkins, Creative Director *
Anna Holland, Account Director *
Chad Cadelina, Account Executive
Jessica Zou, Assistant Account Executive
* Attended Shoot
Production Company Credits:
H.S.I./Santa Monica
Directors: The Malloys (Brothers Brendan & Emmett)
Executive Producer: Kim Dellara
Producer: Ron Mohrhoff
Optimus/Santa Monica
Editor: Nate Cali
EP/Managing Director: Therese Hunsberger
Producer:Ashley Bartell
Assistant Editor: Annie Carey
Lime Studios/Santa Monica
Mixer: Sam Casas
Producer: Jessica Locke
South Music/Santa Monica
Method Studios/Santa Monica
Artist: Claus Hansen
Executive Producer: Robert Owens
Producer: Paula Jimenez
Company 3/Santa Monica
Colorist Dave Hussey