The Taco Bell Diet… Not a joke


It’s the new year and Americans are looking to lose weight.  But you may not have to look as far as your neighborhood gym.  In fact look no further than your closest drive-thru.  Taco Bell is launching a new campaign to rival Subway’s Jared Fogle campaign in the year 2000.  The Subway campaign which toted Jared’s amazing 254 lbs wieght loss by eating subway for a year, doubled their previous year’s sales, according to “Market Busters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth,” published by the Harvard Business School Press.

Taco Bell features Christine Doughtery, a woman who lost 54 pounds in two years by choosing the low-fat “Fresco” menu items at Taco Bell in place of her old daily fast food choices. “When I decided to trim down, I knew I had to be realistic with myself,” Christine said in the ads. “I didn’t want to cut out my fast food, so I started choosing Fresco items from the Drive-Thru Diet menu. These results aren’t typical, but for me, they are fantastic.” Taco Bell’s Fresco menu consists of seven items, such as a regular bean burrito or chicken soft taco, but replaces salsa for cheese or sour cream. In a web infomercial for the “Drive-Thru Diet,” Taco Bell, however, underscores that it “isn’t a weight-loss program,” even though the campaign has “diet” in its name. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this the same company that touted 4rth meal a ridiculous campaign aimed at encouraging a second dinner?

Whether or not Taco Bell’s creative agency, DraftFCB, made a mistake is not clear as yet.  Emily Bryson York for Adage.com wrote, ”  Zeta Buzz, which mines blogs, message boards and social media postings to measure buzz about a subject, Taco Bell’s buzz rating has dropped six points after launching the diet. While volume of posts increased 44%, the tone has become more negative.  Prior to launch, posts were 73% positive, putting it ahead of beloved chains like Subway, Wendy’s and Domino’s. Words associated with the brand online were “love,” “delicious,” and “favorite.” Postings are now 67% positive, putting Taco Bell behind White Castle, Blimpie and Arby’s, which rank among the category’s lower tier. Now three of the words most closely associated with Taco Bell and its campaign have been “fat,” “stop,” and “joke.” BrandIndex shows the chain’s buzz and quality ratings falling among women aged 18-34 since the beginning of December, and particularly since Christmas.”  Read more from that article here .

Ultimately I think this is a poor move by Taco Bell and they should can their agency.  It is understandable that Americans are looking for ways to lose weight so you expect it to be put forth by marketers this time of year.  But when I start seeing my favorite fast food after a night at the bars telling me they can help me lose weight I have to laugh.  I think I have it figured out though.  The last several trips I have taken to Taco Bell have landed me in the bathroom.  That’s the true success of this diet…  Taco Bell is a guaranteed laxative!

To learn more check out Taco Bell’s website here .

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