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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