Thursday, December 31, 2009

There's a special place in hell...

There I was on the couch, lost in the rapture that was the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl (no, I really don't have a life) when I saw it again, the commercial for Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet. Are they f*#%ing kidding me? This is so bad on so many levels I just can't stand idly by and watch it go down without a comment. Okay, a rant...

First of all, it's derivative. I know some marketing guru at Yum Brands will tell you, "It's proven." But Subway got there first with Jared. They put a big fat stake in the ground and basically own this territory in the fast food category. If you want to take it away from them or at least join the party, you had better do it really well.

Which leads me to my second problem; the spot is just awful. There's no charm, no wit, no irony and nothing to make it memorable other than its utter stupidity. If you're going to do this, plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and have some fun with it. You can't bore me into believing that eating tacos without cheese will cause me to lose 50 pounds.

And that's really the biggest issue I have with this campaign. It's just not honest. "Christine" tells us she lost all this weight "by reducing my daily calories AND replacing my usual fast food with Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet." My guess is she cut a lot more calories by laying off the Chunky Monkey and super sized sodas. The Fresco versions of their foods are just 50 calories less than the regular versions. Hell, there's even a disclaimer on the spot that says "Not a low calorie food." So what, she was eating ten Taco Supremes a day? That's the only way she could have reduced her calorie intake by 500 on the "Drive-Thru Diet."

Look, I'm all for eating healthier. I'd love to lose 15 pounds myself. But I'm not that stupid. And maybe that's what really grinds my cojones. There are people in this world who will believe this tripe. They will eat five Fresco Tacos and wonder why they still have that Dunlop around their waist. And there is no doubt in my mind that everyone in Louisville who approved this campaign knows it.

That, my friends, is why people hate marketing.


  1. To be completely honest when I first saw the commercial I totally thought it was a Nutrisystem or Smart Cookie ad... never would have guessed Taco Bell.

    As you mention the calorie count is not much different and being on Weight Watchers myself the point difference is so minimal that I'd prefer to eat the "normal" taco because it's actually hot (temp wise).

  2. A guy who calls his creativity "unbridled" in his "About Me" section thinks this campaign lacks charm, wit and irony? It must be worse than I thought.
    If the point is that the campaign doesn't work because it isn't "honest," please let us know one fast-food campaign that does work. Subway and Jared are no more "honest" than Taco Bell, they just got there first.

  3. All this is because of the meaning we attribute to the word "diet". I just think it's funny that all the uproar hinges upon one tiny semantic. They ad says it's not a weight loss program, so it's a way of eating, the technical meaning of diet.

    In spite of all the negative buzz it's bringing them, I don't think the actual targets of the campaign will care. It doesn't take much to convert Taco Bell target: they already want the damn taco. So I think it's a good attempt at marketing, we'll see if it works.