Taco Bell is using augmented reality (AR) and QR codes to build on its social marketing campaign for the launch of Doritos Locos Tacos.

The new taco, which comes in a nacho cheese Doritos shell, was launched yesterday after several weeks of promotional activity on Twitter and Facebook.

This included a Twitter competition last month, which asked people to retweet the name of the product and drummed up a serious amount of buzz in the process.

The use of an existing online fanbase to build buzz around a product launch is something we’ve seen recently in the UK with Cadbury’s Bitsa Wispa.

Taco Bell is in a great position to market new products through social media since it has 167,000 Twitter followers and 8.3m Facebook fans to work with.

To celebrate the availability of the product in stores, Taco Bell has now placed an AR feature on its cups and boxes which allows the customer to view live tweets posted about the new Locos Tacos.

Some of those tweets will also be displayed on digital billboards in New York’s Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard in LA.

These can be using via a Taco Bell branded AR app, which also allows users to share their own content on Twitter or Facebook.

The QR codes placed on the packets and cups additionally link to a digital certificate that congratulates the customer for trying the new tacos, and shows extra video content.

Waitrose, Billabong and Net-A-Porter are among the long list of companies making use of AR technology such as this in recent campaigns, as it becomes more mainstream in its appeal. That’s not to say it’s lost it’s sparkle in terms of marketers wanting to use shiny new technology, but there are some big names now using it regularly.

The fast food chain has a huge following on Facebook and Twitter, so tech-savvy customers should enjoy interacting through the app. This launch is another example of a fun way to enhance a multichannel campaign that seems to make sense.