Friday, January 28, 2011

Taco Bell's Smart Response to Lawsuit Claims They Use Little Real Beef

Taco Bell has very quickly, and smartly, responded to a recently filed class action lawsuit against them that has gained a good deal of media attention due to its claims that the meat Taco Bell uses in their food items contain less than 35% beef and does not meet the USDA requirements to be called "beef."

Taco Bell's campaign includes a counter-suit PR effort, Taco Bell's website, print ads in the WSJ, NY Times, USA Today and regional newspapers, a YouTube video from the CEO, search engine marketing, online advertising, etc. It's quite impressive how quickly they've pulled this together. The print ad they're running does an excellent job of responding to the allegations against them by providing the specific ingredients they use as meat for their food. 

Kudos to Taco Bell's management team on handling this matter quickly. So far, their response is a good example of crisis communications management. Although some still aren't buying Taco Bell's counter claims (see Stephen Colbert's hilarious segment from the Colbert Report and notice the audience gasps when he states one of the alleged filler ingredients: 

Now, if Taco Bell management could only make their products taste like they use real beef. I think there is a lesson here for Taco Bell that, beyond whether or not the allegations against Taco Bell are true, it is telling that the claims that their "beef" contains little real beef was so believable to so many in the media and beyond, which may reflect a brand image issue. 

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