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Taco Bell Pulls Ad Bashing Football Veggies
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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When you get invited to a party to watch a game, or a tailgate, what comes to mind? Beer, wings, pizza, and other greasy and alcoholic variations probably pop up. Finger foods come to mind. 

The kind of food that requires the generous use of napkins.

Taco Bell, with the assistance of agency Draft FCB, has been trying to position itself as a viable option for tailgates and parties. It has attacked several chicken wing deals, the chips and salsa guy, and now it went after the veggies.

Oh no, not the veggie appetizers. 

Yes, Taco Bell's ad said that people would "hate you for it" if you brought veggies to a party. Before this goes any further, watch the ad for yourself.

Harmless, right? Wrong. According to the Associated Press, the Center for Science in the Public Interest led the complaint charge and urged followers to tweet and reach out to Taco Bell to pull the ad.

The crazy thing is, it worked. Taco Bell is pulling the ad.

Really? The spokesperson for Taco Bell said that they didn't want "anybody to misinterpret the ad." Let's be serious here; people considering to buy Taco Bell aren't misinterpreting anything, nor are they worried about getting their proper vegetable intake.

If the Center for Science in the Public Interest really cared, they would avoid this stupid publicity stunt and work at initiatives that could actually work. Maybe work on ads that promote a healthy Super Bowl party, or showing people healthy grilling recipes for tailgates.

And shame on Taco Bell for caving into the pressure. Were those strong words you used in the ad? Yes. But did you in any way say that your tacos are the healthier alternative to veggies? No. Did you say that veggies were bad for you? No. 

Did the Center for Science in the Public Interest miss more than a few invitations to parties? Probably.

Listen, there will always be a group of people that will not be fans of your brand. This "Center for Science" saw and heard the strong language and took advantage. But there comes a time where standing up for your brand will make a stronger impression than pulling an ad. Welcome the backlash. With something as silly as this, you missed the opportunity to shine some humor on the situation. You could have shown the vegetables used in the tacos (if any). You could have added a disclaimer saying "no veggies or vegetarians were hurt during the filming of the ad." Even better, re-shoot the ad and have a person with the Center for Science logo at home by themselves watching the game. 

In any case, know why the backlash is happening. Just because it's loud doesn't mean the action must be quick. Think about it.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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