Photo: Morgan Tepsic. Does that mean South Korea has Taco Bells?

I usually try to steer clear of the marketing crud, but this is too bizarre to pass up. Taco Bell, anxious to jump on this whole “indie music” bandwagon, is using the only currency it has: combinations of refried beans, cheese, rehydrated ground meat, and tortillas.

Here’s the plan: they find 100 bands, and give them $500 in Taco Bell food while they’re on tour — just in case the burritos were the one thing breaking your tour budget. (Okay, there is that whole fuel cost and lodging thing, but get some bikes and a tent and you should be fine.)

The grand prize: the kind of fame that can only come from including hot sauce packets in your marketing plan. And to think, all this time people have been chasing music press and blogs and word of mouth and such. PR helpfully tell us that they’ll get “a well-known indie rock producer” to record the single. (Wait — aren’t “indie” and “well-known producer” supposed to be mutually exclusive?) But it’s really the hot sauce packets that seal the deal:

The singles will then be promoted on and through online advertising and in-store efforts in the Spring of 2009, as the Web site address will be featured on Taco Bell’s iconic Sauce Packet, which reaches more than 208 million people in about a month.

Oddly, talking about this has only made me hungry. I know, I know — I’ll try to find a real burrito, not a Taco Bell.

If a CDM reader happens to win this, we’ll be proud to see your name in lights extra spicy.

Reader Mark notes that, as covered in Pitchfork, Girl Talk got the right idea after last year’s contest and shared their taco winnings with fans. Now that’s good publicity.

Readers: got better ideas for viral condiment marketing? (Oooh, wait, I shouldn’t say the word “viral” in the same breath as a fast food joint, should I?)