Taco Bell owner buys AI-based marketing platform

With its deal to acquire Kvantum, Yum Brands will pair marketing performance AI with culture-based research.

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Yum Brands, owner of quick-service chains like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, announced plans to buy Kvantum, which uses AI technology to garner consumer insights and optimize marketing campaigns. U.S.-based Kvantum was founded in 2012, and has worked with several Yum brands in international markets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In 2015, Yum purchased Collider Lab, a firm that develops culture-based consumer insights with the help of sociologists and anthropologists. The plan is for Yum Brands to combine these insights with the new AI to help reach consumers more efficiently.

Yum Brands has been dabbling in AI solutions to boost customer engagement for several years now. In 2016, Taco Bell debuted an AI-powered “TacoBot” that received meal orders through a voice-based conversation.

Why we care. Dining and retail have been changed permanently by an increase in digital engagement. When stores open more fully, post-pandemic, there will be fewer walk-ins who haven’t pre-ordered through a brand’s digital footprint. With more ad spend devoted to digital, and with offline channels like out-of-home being bought programmatically, it makes sense for an advertiser at this scale to implement a digital campaign optimization solution. Entities like the McD Tech Labs at McDonald’s also advance this industry trend.

More about this news

  • Kvantum uses Marketing Mix Modeling to measure the incremental sales impact on each channel.
  • Programmatic media buying in the digital mix includes social media and analyzes the impact broken down by individual platforms like Facebook and Snapchat.
  • Yum stock has risen 12% over the last year and is valued at $31.3

About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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