Recently, the buzz surrounding Taco Bell hasn’t been about what’s outside the bun, but rather what’s inside the bun. By now I’m sure everyone knows that Taco Bell was recently rocked with allegations that its taco meat isn’t quite as beefed up as it’s made out to be. Unlike many others, my personal interest in the Taco Bell scandal isn’t buried in the not-so-secret secret beef recipe, the percentage of beef content or the claims that the meat isn’t meat at all. No, the issue here for me isn’t about the beef, it’s about Taco Bell’s bold response to the crisis.
Last week, Taco Bell launched a counter-attack campaign and ran a full-page ad in newspapers nationwide declaring, “Thank you for suing us.” The ad goes on to uncover the truth behind Taco Bell’s meat and provides a full break down of its beef ingredients. The message behind the campaign is simple, bold and effective: Taco Bell stands 100% behind the quality of its products. The crisis communication team at Taco Bell wasted no time responding to the allegations and, in my opinion, did an excellent job of doing so. Not only did the company boldly defend its products in print, it used social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to reassure fans and customers that Taco Bell is committed to providing top-notch service and is working hard to set the record straight.
Taco Bell’s use of Twitter makes its counter-attack campaign even more bold and unusual, seeing as no company has ever made an official statement about a lawsuit via a promoted tweet. Many initially wondered if the tweet was a smart move on Taco Bell’s part. Wouldn’t it just bring more negative attention to the scandal? I happen to think that the company made an excellent choice in personally informing the public about the issue and showing no hesitation in defending its products. It’s always better to get in front of an issue before it spirals out of control and Taco Bell did just that. Are there still angry customers? Yes. Is the company still receiving negative attention? Absolutely. However, I think the public reaction to the scandal would have been much worse if Taco Bell hadn’t been so forthright about the issue. The company even showed a sense of humor about the controversy, encouraging customers to #LaughOnUs and watch comedian Stephen Colbert’s spoof of the Taco Bell beef scandal.
So, will Taco Bell’s bold counter-attack campaign prove to be successful? It might be too early to tell, but I’m going to go with a definite yes. What do you think?