Earlier this week, we told you about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell over its taco fillings. The lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell inaccurately claims to be selling “seasoned beef” when in fact it is selling “taco meat filling.”
We didn’t think Taco Bell would take these allegations lying down. The WSJ Law Blog tells us that Taco Bell lawyers are thinking outside the
bun box and contemplating a countersuit.
But today brings news of a more traditional response from the fast food giant: an all-out media blitz to assure customers about the quality of its food.
Taco Bell is issuing press releases, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, and even has their president talking about the Taco Bell “seasoned beef” recipe on YouTube. Sadly, Taco Bell isn’t available on SeamlessWeb here at the office — so I can talk about the ad campaign, but can’t experience it in my belly…
Here’s part of the press release that Taco Bell is sending to anyone who will listen:
Taco Bell announced today that it is setting the record straight, launching a nationwide advertising campaign to share the truth about its seasoned beef. The company is placing full page ads in national publications including Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today as well as in local market newspapers including Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, San Diego Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle. The company is also executing a campaign to reach its Hispanic customers.
The centerpiece of this campaign has to be the YouTube video of Taco Bell president Greg Creed talking about the products. You know, if we waterboarded the Colonel and threatened his family, I don’t think he’d give us his recipe for fried chicken. And KFC is owned by the same company that owns Taco Bell (sorry Yum! Brands, I know you were hoping to keep your name out of this story entirely). Yet this Creed guy is just giving away all of Taco Bell’s secrets:
Don’t you wish that Domino’s Pizza would just do one of these YouTube clips instead of subjecting us to those god-awful ads in which they kidnap Americans, shove tomatoes down their throats, and then cut the sound so you can’t hear their reactions when they’re actually forced to eat the pizza (or hear the screams of their loved ones held hostage just off camera)? We get it, fast food giants. You mass-produce millions of servings across hundreds of locations, but every single one is made just like our mothers used to.
Anyway, I’m sure the general American public is going to have a lot of fun sorting out what to believe when it comes to Taco Bell’s food. But the lawyers out there should already know that what we are really looking at here is a distinction without a difference.
The class action lawsuit is claiming that Taco Bell uses “taco meat filling” based on the FDA classifications. Taco Bell claims that it’s using “seasoned beef,” according to other FDA classifications. You know what’s not changing? Whatever the hell is in a Taco Bell taco. You guys can call it whatever you want and the FDA can mandate that it’s called something else, but at the end of the day, if you walk into Taco Bell, you’re not looking for “seasoned beef” or “taco meat filling.” You’re looking for Taco Bell. That’s the “foodstuff,” it’s just “Taco Bell.”
You know how I know this? Have you ever asked somebody what they’re having for lunch and heard them respond “Mexican food” when in fact they were eating Taco Bell? Seriously, has that ever happened? Would you get your ass kicked for saying something like that? If somebody texted you, “Taco party outside Bill’s office,” and you showed up and there was a bunch of Taco Bell lying around, wouldn’t you feel like you’ve been misled? Conversely, if you walked into a Taco Bell and somebody served you delicious, finely shredded beef with some guacamole and maybe some pico de gallo sublimely wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, wouldn’t you say, “Uh… actually I was looking for a chalupa and maybe some cinnamon twists?”
That’s why this little fight Taco Bell is having is stupid. The class action lawsuit doesn’t allege that there’s anything bad or dangerous about Taco Bell’s food, just that it’s not “beef.” Whatever, it’s Taco Bell. And when they tell us that there isn’t an actual fish in a Filet-O-Fish, or that there isn’t real crack cocaine in White Castle burger, I won’t care then either.
If you eat at a fast food chain, any fast food chain, you’re already accepting that the nutritional quality of your meal will be on par with eating an elementary school student’s paper mache project. Why should you care what they call it?