Okay, so here’s a conundrum, if P&G can sell 1000 diapers in under an hour on Facebook, why can’t Taco Bell give tacos away for free on Facebook?

There’s an interesting post over at the Nudge blog reporting that when Taco Bell recently decided to offer its 6 million fans a free taco — no strings attached,  only 3% took them up on the offer.

Chief Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Blum of Taco Bell’s parent company Yum! Brands admitted “We haven’t even been able to give away the food, never mind figure out how to sell it online.” (see (long but interesting) Northwestern lecture featuring Jonathan Blum Yum! Brand, and Terry Davenport, Starbucks). Bottom line for Taco Bell – ‘We haven’t figured out how to make the cash register ring with social media’.

What’s going on? You can sell diapers on Facebook, but you can’t give away tacos to Taco fans…

Of course, the P&G f-commerce offer had the convenience of home delivery – whereas to claim the free  taco Facebook giveaway, you had traipse over to a Taco Bell restaurant.  Rule 1. Make it easy for customers. And you had to kill a tree and print off your free taco voucher. Rule 2.  Make it easy for consumers (and allow them to polish their halos (SMS vouchers?)).

But the key difference between the two – we think – was that P&G was shifting special stock – a fan-first exclusive of a new product line, not available anywhere elsewhere – online or offline.  Taco Bell, on the other hand, was offering regular 99c tacos available everywhere for everyone.

In other words, the P&G offer had ‘scarcity value’, offering ‘social currency’ – bragging rights for a get-it-first exclusive. We think this get-it-first experience is the true home turf for f-commerce – fan-stores that sell fan-first exclusives. We’d recommend thinking twice about f-commere, if you are just going to sell what’s already available elsewhere.

EXCLUSIVITY may be the key to f-commerce success. Thoughts?