Taco Bell battles beef disbelief

The Yum! Restaurants Canada brand’s newest campaign seeks to clear the air and establish its quality cred with Canadians once and for all.

Taco Bell’s got a beef and it’s with misconceptions surrounding…its beef. The Yum! Restaurants Canada brand’s newest campaign seeks to clear the air and establish its quality cred with Canadians once and for all, especially following a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. (later withdrawn by the plaintiff) alleging that its meat isn’t up to USDA snuff. It garnered widespread media attention and set off a furor across the Twitterverse fuelling latent skepticism.
In the U.S., the QSR defended itself with an effort promoting education around its product, and Taco Bell Canada quickly followed suit, but Dan Howe, Yum!’s CMO, says the beef-defence strategy was already in development in both countries, as a result of brand image tracker exercises, before the lawsuit was filed. It just forced Taco Bell to take things more seriously.
“Taco Bell is a lighthearted, fun brand and we were going to address the issue in a lighthearted, fun way,” says Howe. “When the lawsuit occurred we felt that wasn’t the right tone so we completely changed it.”
The campaign includes a TV ad created in the U.S. by Draftfcb and repurposed for Canada by Grip, in which actual Taco Bell employees tell the story behind its beef, as well as POS and promos at Tacobell.ca and on Facebook.
“In today’s digital society, creating a two-way dialogue with consumers in many digital touchpoints, especially Facebook, is critically important, especially when you’re trying to set the record straight,” says Howe.
Led by Adrianne Chow, Yum!’s senior marketing manager, and Teresa Mui, associate marketing manager, the national effort launched in April with “Taco Libre,” a week during which all Taco Bells across the country, as well as a travelling branded truck, gave out free tacos.