21 April, 2011

Tacos are 88% Beef, 12% Rude

As someone who has (thankfully) never been on the receiving side of a lawsuit about the percentage of beef in my tacos, I guess I really can't judge how severe my feelings would be hurt.

One thing I know for sure is, I certainly wouldn't respond the way Taco Bell did.

For those of you not paying attention to lawsuits in the QSR world, back in January a Montgomery, Alabama-based law firm, Beasley Allen, filed a lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell is partaking in false advertising by calling the meat they use in their tacos as "beef." The lawfirm goes on to allege that Taco Bell's beef only really contains 36% beef.

Worried, and rightly so, of the negative publicity Taco Bell would receive from this lawsuit, Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell, issued a statement, took to YouTube, AND launched a multi-million dollar Campaign dispelling the myth of their beef content brought up by the lawsuit.

From a PR standing, they handled this correctly. They got in front of the matter, made the conversation about the truth, and handled negative publicity with special offers and free tacos.

They even released the recipe!
• 88% USDA-inspected quality beef
• 3-5% water for moisture
• 3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
• 3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.

Obviously overmatched and bested, the lawfirm correctly backed off and dropped the charges.

Now, the story could have ended right there. Both sides could have nodded agreeingly, and went home to be with their families.

Not Taco Bell. No sir.

With the dropping of the lawsuit and Taco Bell's name cleared, Taco Bell feels so slighted that they have now gone on the offensive.

Today, they ran the below full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and the New York Times as well had their President get back on YouTube with the video: "Beef Lawsuit Dropped, Lawyers got it wrong!"

I can understand them responding to the inital lawsuit but continuing the campaign and rubbing the fact they "won" in the face of the lawfirm just feels like overkill to me.

The damage is done, Taco Bell, take you and your parent company, Yum! Brands' increased quarterly profits and just be done with the issue. At least they didn't make the lawfirm do this:

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Fan of the Cheesy Gordita Crunch (regardless of the reel beef percentage)

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18 April, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: How Do You Using Social Media?

I remember when I thought that Facebook was pointless. I had the idea it was only used for people who were in college, and I wasn’t in school so I didn’t see a reason to sign up. People convinced me to check it out, and told me that more than just students were using it. Now my mother posts more on Facebook than I do.

The point is that everyone is using social media today, and it is used for more than just telling people what is on your mind. Social media can be used for many different reasons including locating people, gathering information, advertising, as a resume of sorts, but most importantly as a tool to connect with other people.

Think of what happened in Egypt as a prime example. A Google executive Wael Ghonim started a Facebook page that called for protests on January 25th, which is now known as the “Day of Wrath.” He called for the protests in response to the violent beating death of an Egyptian businessman, who was beaten to death after he planned on exposing corruption in the government. The page was named after the man who died, and was called “We are all Khaled Said.” Ghonim was arrested on January 28th and was released twelve days later. The rest is history.

I remember following a New York Times list on Twitter that posted people live in Tahrir Square as the news Mubarak had stepped down. One woman posted that she couldn’t stop laughing and crying at the same time, and I could follow Egyptian’s reactions as they were happening in real-time. It was so moving that I almost cried myself.

Ghonim used social media to broadcast his message, and gather people to form a revolution. This has spawned many other similar events in the Middle East such as Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen; and others are just now beginning to quell into a true social movement for change.

Social media allows for someone to get a message out quickly, and to a large number of people. Word spreads quickly on Facebook and Twitter, and news is almost instantaneous. With the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan the news of the event came from social media first, with the actual news second going so far as to cite what they were seeing on Twitter as sources.

What do you think it would have been like on 9/11 if Facebook and Twitter were around then, and were used in the capacity that they are today? It could have been much easier for people to find out if their loved ones were okay via social media avenues. Imagine if social media was around during the times of the Titanic?

It is clear that social media is changing the way that information is disseminated. The news that Michael Jackson died shut down Twitter for a short period of time. This is an example of how often today people get their news from social media and from their friends. Who better to trust than your friends on social media?
Advertising has been changed tremendously and most companies now have social media sites. Even so, some companies have yet to utilize this avenue effectively for marketing purposes, they are left trying to answe the question: How does a Facebook page actually translate to sales?

The bottom line is that social media has an enormous impact on how societies today communicate with each other. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, and it is continuing to grow. It has become an avenue for unprecedented open communication. I think we have just now tipped the iceberg for how it will be used in the future. The question is… how do you use social media?

Robert Devereux , Account Executive Intern/Inquisitive Soul

Last Heard on the Intern Sweatshop: Apparently Our Custmers Like Our Crappy Commercials

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