Below, we chat with Sara Singh, Associate Director of Strategy at Deutsch, about the development of the project and what to expect once the virtual curtain is up:
Muse: Tell us how it all came together.
Sara Singh: After Doja Cat released her “jingle” in March, which garnered 39.3 million views on TikTok, fans started using the track in all kinds of creative ways. One fan in particular, Victor Kunda, used it to make a parody video claiming to be leading a rehearsal for “Mexican Pizza: The Musical by Doja Cat”. More and more fans started joining him in dueting his video, pretending to be part of the show. After seeing that, we knew we had to make this musical a reality.
How did Dolly get involved?
Dolly is a longtime fan of the brand and has always talked about it, especially recently. During an interview with Business Insider, she expressed her love for Mexican pizza and asked that it be brought back to the menu. His story was one fan truth, among many others, that we portrayed in the musical. She injected her charming personality throughout the experience. She worked closely with Barlow and Bear to ensure their vision for her roles was perfectly executed.
Has the postponement impacted the project?
This allowed us to engage even more fans and create a bonus third act with the help of Barlow and Bear to celebrate the item’s return to the menu.
When we look tonight, what will we see? A fully produced live show with a band, singers and dancers?
We wanted to bring a saga to life in a way that pays homage to all the fans who insisted on letting us know how much they loved and wanted Mexican pizza back. So we’ve created a satirical, self-aware musical that shows what fans have been up to, from tracking every post on Taco Bell’s social accounts for the past two years, to creating petitions. .
The musical consists of three acts that take us through the story, which is told primarily through song. We follow our main character, Victor, as he embarks on a journey of loss when Mexican Pizza leaves the menu. We see him reunite with other fans, including Barlow and Bear, and a very pissed off “internet” played by 12 cast members and several true Mexican Pizza fans. They eventually succeed in their endeavors and Mexican pizza returns to the menu forever.
It sounds like a story of brand triumph, of course.
The musical doesn’t take itself too seriously. But the music itself is incredibly written and performed. All three songs are definitely earworms.
The scale is different, but comparisons to Skittles’ hour-long Super Bowl musical from 2019 seem inevitable. Can you explain why making high profile live activation music makes sense for Taco Bell?
Fans play an extremely important role in defining Taco Bell’s brand identity, and much of what we do is in service of those fans. In this sense, the idea was born from our brand philosophy. It wasn’t born out of “Hey, let’s do a musical and do PR.” He was born from “Hey, look at this fan [Kunda] with an amazing idea, let’s bring it to life by bringing together some of the best talent to make it awesome.”
Music has always been an important part of Taco Bell’s DNA and some of our biggest moments that have resonated with the culture have been around music. So writing and creating a musical was a natural extension of that for us. And offering the musical as a live stream on social media gives us the opportunity to bring fans together in a unique way on a platform where the idea was born: TikTok.
Brand Manager: Sean Tresvant
Vice President, Brand Marketing: Taylor Montgomery
Senior Director, Brand Creation: Ashley Prollamante
Senior Director, Brand Creation: Amanda Barbosa
Senior Associate Director, Advertising: Chelle Toulouse
Social manager: Nicole Weltman
Associate Manager, Social Media: Erika Prime
Social Media Coordinator: Milo Simpson
Food Advisor: Carolyn Avelino
Group Account Manager: Matt Matzen
Director of Social Accounts: Katy Wellhousen
Account Manager: Natalie Brock
Social Partnerships Manager: Racine Drageset
Account Supervisor: Allie Plantery
Account Manager: Daniela Chang
Account Coordinator: Sami Rohde
Executive Creative Director: Matt Ian
Artistic Director: Stephanie Kohnen
Senior Writer: Matt Garcia
Senior Artistic Director: Kevin Descardes
Editor: Walker Pfost
Artistic Director: Ashley Cardwell
Editor: Andrews Steel
Artistic Director: Thomas Raybell
Director of Social Strategy: Lauren Murphy
Associate Director of Strategy: Sara Singh
Social Media Manager: Cat Killedjian
Executive producer: Paul Roy
Main producer: Lucy Herzog
Producer: Olivia Baker
Digital Producer: Chanel Raquel
Associate Digital Producer: Kristen Escobar
Music Director: Chip Herter
Music Supervisor: Will Eichler
Director of Commercial Affairs: Gabriela Farias
The Syndicate: Music Agency
Jon Landman, CEO/Managing Partner
Graham Rothenberg, Managing Director
Jeff Kilgour, SVP / Business Development
Brendan Bourke, Senior Advertising Manager
Julia Galvin, Director of Marketing
Nick Martini – founder/CEO of stept
Mac Hedges – production manager
Brendan Varni – executive producer
Camila Cornelsen – Director / dp
Amy Hillner Larson – Choreographer
Andrea Bernick – Executive Producer
Amy Saunders – Head of Post-Production and Operations
Heather Stanic – Senior Post-Producer
Courtney Kolloff – Post-producer
Monica Arnold – Senior Post-Producer
Editor – Winnie Cheung
Assistant Editor – HJ Chong
Motion Graphics Director – Andrea Senise
Mixer – Cayce Sylvester
Colorist – Brandon Chavez
Nashville Production Company: NOZ Entertainment
Executive Producer – Danny Nozell
Producer – Olly Rowland
Dolly Parton Creative Director – Steve Summers
Music and lyrics by Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.
Voices produced by: Abigail Barlow, Emily Bear and Juan Ariza
Produced by: Juan Ariza and Emily Bear
Vocal arrangement by: Abigail Barlow
Creative production and audio publishing:
BUTTER Music and Sound
Executive producer: Annick Mayer
CCO: Andrew Sherman
Main producer: Stone Irr
Final mix: Robbie Gardunio
Audio message from Mr. Bronx
Audio message: David Wolfe
Executive Producer: Hanna Choi
Hannah Friedman – Playwright
Juan Ariza – Music Composer
Caci Cole Pritchett
Joy Lynn Pringle
Michael B. Wang