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January 16, 2010 2:09 AM   Subscribe

Breaking news, Taco Bell will make you skinny! Not unknown for low-brow branding, Toxic Bell is following it's hedonistic Fourthmeal campaign with an appeal to "sensible choices".

To me this "diet" gleams with grandiose satire but many are discussing it's actual efficacy and some are just kinda pissed. Has Taco Bell created a meta-Jared to troll the fast food industry? Or is this just simply a case of bad idea with poorer execution?

Full television commercial
posted by Juicy Avenger (139 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm keeping my posts short because the half life of this post isn't long. But here's the problem Advertisers don't really care what you think of their product, as long as you think about 'em. (depending on the product).

They know if they make a controversial ad, people will talk about it, multiplying the effect. Therefore, if you talk about an annoying, offensive advertisement, you're playing into their hands.

And if you post about it on metafilter, then we all are.
posted by delmoi at 2:41 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Juicy: Don't worry about it. Not everyone's first FPP will be fantastic.
posted by delmoi at 2:43 AM on January 16, 2010


And you, taco blue, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:45 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks delmoi, and I agree it is regrettably free advertising for a company with crappy practices. But in this instance, the benefit or ill consequence for the company was none of my interest. I personally think this campaign is brilliant and the surrounding debate interesting if not amusing. But I understand now how this looks like blatant market research and for that I realize it's a shitty post.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 2:59 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The way people gotta act like dicks around here, you'd think the Internet was running out of space. The post is fine for the subject; at least it links to some analysis, and it's something that struck me as kinda kooky when I first saw the commercial.

In any case, there's no predicting what the hall monitors here will freak over. Post some single-link 8-bit graphic that's cute, and people will be all like you uncovered the fucking rosetta stone.
posted by troybob at 3:01 AM on January 16, 2010 [34 favorites]


My first post was downright boring compared to this. And advertising posts aren't all bad -- witness the recent Domino's discussion.

I think this kind of thing works much better when you don't add too much and let the kookiness of the subject matter speak for itself. But then half of my posts get deleted. Keep trying!
posted by swift at 3:16 AM on January 16, 2010


You know, the structure of the post is very good.

(The subject itself was destined to not go very well--if you must post about a product on metafilter, please be sure Steve Jobs has at least tangential involvement.)
posted by maxwelton at 3:18 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Free advertising for a company with crappy practices" isn't much harm in places where the chain in question doesn't even exist. I have no idea where else this campaign is being conducted, but would assume that non-americans wouldn't have even been aware of this campaign if it hadn't been for this post, and we're completely safe from being tempted to buy the product, so it's all good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting point of trivia: Name the founder of Taco Bell.

You have very little time, but you have one clue: "Taco Bell was named after the founder of Taco Bell."

Very little time left.

Record your answers.

For those of you scoring at home, the correct answer is BELL, the surname of Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell. Well, that's the bell...
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:24 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks... it's only 6:25 am, the Bell isn't open, and I want a damn taco....

Damn you all!
posted by HuronBob at 3:26 AM on January 16, 2010


twolittlefeet, for a second there you got me really excited about a mysterious, mad mexican-food-scientist with the first name Taco.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 3:27 AM on January 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


Please tell me that this "Glenn Bell" was Mexican with an odd name...'cuz I spent twenty years of my life considering Taco Bell as the best of ethnic foods.... Don't make me look like an idiot here....

oh, wait....
posted by HuronBob at 3:28 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone who has read Taco Titan cannot help but be impressed with how an ordinary white kid could grow up to command an entire taco empire.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:49 AM on January 16, 2010


The fourth meal campaign always made me think of the hobbits complaining in The Fellowship of the Ring movie, moaning about second breakfast and afternoon tea and all of that. What about fourth meal? Does Aragorn know about fourth meal at Taco Bell, Pip?

Also, Mexican pizzas? Never before has one company simultaneously offended two cultures quite so efficiently.
posted by empyrean at 3:56 AM on January 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Any item of food (well, almost any) that costs a buck is guaranteed to suck. Think about it. Grow (GMO) corn, harvest corn, ship corn, grind corn, make taco shell, ship taco shell. Make (BGH) milk, make cheese, ship cheese. Grow lettuce, ship lettuce. Grow tomato, ship tomato. Raise cow, slaughter cow, grind up cow, make mystery meat. Put it all together and sell it for a buck? And everyone along the way got a few cents?
posted by fixedgear at 4:04 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record, I think it's fine subject matter for a post -- largely because I've personally been so skeptical of "come ON, they're SERIOUSLY trying to get away with a fast-food DIET?" and the fact that some people are indeed studying it (link 4) to weigh in on that is exactly what I wanted to know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:04 AM on January 16, 2010


.....But the 5th link, to Advertising Age (where we can read that some people are "kinda pissed"), doesn't link to anything but a login screen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mexican pizzas?

I'm so hungry now for a pizza that's been rolled up like a burrito.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:11 AM on January 16, 2010


My first post was a stunner, but none of youse bastards read it anyway (and I see it's a dead link now anyway). *sniff*
posted by Abiezer at 4:14 AM on January 16, 2010


ship taco shell. Make (BGH) milk, make cheese

You know all milk contains BGH, right?
posted by delmoi at 4:14 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


My first post was a stunner, but none of youse bastards read it anyway

I do. Every morning.

But not the way you intended.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:18 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So THAT'S what a huge backpeddle sounds like. huh.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 AM on January 16, 2010


I do. Every morning.

But not the way you intended.


Good enough for me!
posted by Abiezer at 4:23 AM on January 16, 2010


You know all milk contains BGH, right?

Actually I don't know this and I'm skeptical of 'all.'
posted by fixedgear at 4:24 AM on January 16, 2010


All cow milk, anyway.
posted by delmoi at 4:27 AM on January 16, 2010


All cow milk, anyway.

Still skeptical.
posted by fixedgear at 4:29 AM on January 16, 2010


Actually I don't know this and I'm skeptical of 'all.'

I did actually double check with google before I posted that. here's one source (about bGH specifically, but this is a very pro-bioengineering post), here's another talking about hormones in general (more anti-hormones, which talks about how cows are milked while pregnant = more hormones). I googled "natural hormones in milk"

If you think about it, how could they not? Those hormones are running through the cows blood all the time, and the milk is intended for calves.

Obviously human breast milk will only contain human growth factors, while goat milk will have goat hormones, etc.

The artificial stuff is prefixed with an 'r' like rBST or rBGH, but it's the same molecule (see first link). I don't know how much the levels differ from treated and untreated cows, but it would be interesting to see.
posted by delmoi at 4:37 AM on January 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Taco Pizza or Pizza Taco.
posted by crataegus at 4:37 AM on January 16, 2010


I'm so hungry now for a pizza that's been rolled up like a burrito.

You mean, a pizzarito?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:40 AM on January 16, 2010


That first link could go to something about Taco Bell AND Skinny or a link to the Drive-thru Diet. Taco Bell is doing the same thing that Subway did; pushing a healthier alternative.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:42 AM on January 16, 2010


There are no Taco Bells in Japan (outside of some US military bases, anyway) and that's just real fuckin' fine with me. And I didn't click on any of these links because I'm entirely uninterested in anything Taco Bell is trying to sell to Americans or to anyone else. And I'm glad there aren't many posts like this to Metafilter, as a rule. There's only so many hours in a day, and there's so much other good stuff out there to see, hear, read about and think about. Some crap fast food company's ad campaign? I don't need or want Mefi to tell me about that. STILL... I'd like to say that people should maybe take it a little easy on Juicy Avenger here, it's her first post, you know. It ain't the end of the world.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 AM on January 16, 2010


If you pick your dishes wisely (i.e. chicken tacos or gorditas, fresco style) and don't get the "salad" or "pizza" or god forbid the "empanadas," Taco Bell is one of the most diet-friendly fast food joints around. You can spend around $4 and get a meal that may be loaded with preservatives and low-grade food but doesn't taste awful (YMMV of course) and won't wreck your diet. Seriously. That's a product most fast food joints don't offer. Why is it a scandal that they're advertising this? (And this isn't a bad FPP at all...people with a problem with it should go to MeTa.)
posted by graymouser at 5:08 AM on January 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


My first FPP was a single link video where I misquoted the pull quote and had two typos.

I'm surprised I wasn't beaten with an oar.
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 AM on January 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


My first FPP was a single link video where I misquoted the pull quote and had two typos.

I'm surprised I wasn't beaten with an oar.


Is it too late? Do they turn off oar-beatings after 30 days?

I was living in Mexico City when they opened the first Taco Bell. It was in the Zona Rosa, a largely tourist area, but it still created controversy as an obvious intrusion of an Americanized version of the local cuisine. A true Mexican taco is nothing like the version served by this food conglomerate.

But a taco isn't always about the food. A good value for a good price counts for lot. Even chihuahuas, who normally earn little more than the cost of staying alive, will tell you "yo quiero Taco Bell".
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:17 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I miss the oar beatings.
posted by cashman at 5:22 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised I wasn't beaten with an oar.

What you couldn't feel that? I was whacking you as hard as I could!

next time I'm putting a nail in the oar
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:22 AM on January 16, 2010


Whoo hoo!
posted by cashman at 5:23 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, diarrhea is slimming...
posted by condour75 at 5:23 AM on January 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Fascinating. I ate at Taco Bell just the other day, and bemoaned the fact that there wasn't any way to air a gripe on MetaFilter about something about the experience. Oh, frabjous day!

Anyhoo, remember the hoopla when Subway did away with the "classic" wedge-shaped cut in there sandwiches? The internet consensus was that it was done entirely to shrink the amount of filling placed in the sandwiches, and make them cheaper. Taco Bell has done something very similar, and I don't remember seeing a similar hoopla. Quietly, without fanfare, the Bell has changed their burritos from being open on one end to being FOLDED IN ON BOTH ENDS. I don't believe for a minute that this was done to enhance the eating experience, make them easier to pack in a bag or more indestructable during space flight - no, the reason is to avoid having to fill the entire tube up with beefy, beany, cheesy goodness. It also makes it harder for me to squirt a whole packet of Fire sauce into the burrito prior to taking that first bite.

So, I'm kicking off the "Bring Back the Open-Ended Burrito!!!" campaign. Who's with me?!?
posted by yhbc at 5:31 AM on January 16, 2010


...I didn't click on any of these links because I'm entirely uninterested in anything Taco Bell is trying to sell...

A long paragraph of X concluding with a request that people stop Xing.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:36 AM on January 16, 2010


A fast food burrito is not to be folded in on both ends; doing so takes away from the total usable foldable area of the tortilla and only results in more rapid burrito self-destruction.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:39 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's up with you guys. This isn't going to get the "FPP of the week" award, but it isn't corporate shilling--it's clearly critical of what TB is doing. Maybe it editorializes too much, but "Taco Bell is kind of crazy to pretend it can be part of a healthy diet" isn't exactly a controversial opinion. I was interested to see that Taco Bell is going to try this approach. The ABC News and Adage.com articles aren't exactly doctoral dissertations, but not much on Metafilter is, and they do give some additional analysis. I think it's worth keeping, and it could have generated some conversation if some of you guys hadn't decided to torpedo it out of the gate.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:45 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, they're now promoting the fact that their food will make you shit out vital organs and ribs?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:46 AM on January 16, 2010


How does a man take a bubble bath?

Taco Bell for dinner.
posted by netbros at 5:54 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


following it's hedonistic Fourthmeal campaign with an appeal to "sensible choices".
That makes sense. I always eat sensibly at Fifthmeal.
posted by Flunkie at 6:00 AM on January 16, 2010


A Taco Bell based diet will never work. Dieting requires you to examine your available options, select the ones that are compatible with your diet, and order them. Where Taco Bell falls down is that, while you can control what you order, you have no real control over what get. That's up to the capricious whim of the employees' incompetence.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:12 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


So they're advertising their lower-fat alternatives and they're being a little cheeky about it. Beats the hell outta that awful Jared character, who always struck me as a guy who seethes with anger on the inside.

Taco Bell makes it very clear that this is not a weight-loss program while also putting across their lower fat message.

I'm curious about the 3-min. spot. Are they just running it on YouTube or are they running it in full late night spots? I'm sure it's also been cut down to 0:30 and 0:60 spots, just wondering if anyone's seen the 3:00 one on air.
posted by Mister_A at 6:16 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two things: PepsiCo no longer owns Taco Bell, and chicken baja chalupas are really awesome. Go fire sauce!
posted by BeerFilter at 6:18 AM on January 16, 2010


God, I fucking love Taco Bell. There is nothing else that tastes like it. Like a twinkie, or a White Castle slider, it's one of those super-homogenzied pieces of reliably delicious glory that eschews authenticity to bring fat and sodium in the most delicious package possible. Fuck, FUCK, I love Taco Bell.

You know what I miss? The bacon cheeeburger burrito. Y'all remember that? Ha ha, what a nasty-ass tube of brown. So fucking delicious. So fucking delicious.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 AM on January 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


that awful Jared character, who always struck me as a guy who seethes with anger on the inside.

What?
posted by spaltavian at 6:34 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm always annoyed when people advertise about lower-fat. It's such bullshit. It's like when you see candy at the store and it's advertised as a "fat-free snack."

Yes folks, that's right. Eating candy is now healthy and won't make you fat and give you diabetes. The fat is bad for you myth was just a bunch of advertising cooked up from a diet study done in the 50s, but fat is such a scary word that we can continue to villify it in advertising with impunity.
posted by scrutiny at 6:36 AM on January 16, 2010


Jared seems angry to me is what.
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on January 16, 2010


I think he's wondering why you think that (and now I'm a bit curious too).
posted by the other side at 6:59 AM on January 16, 2010


MetaFilter: what a nasty-ass tube of brown

In my browser, this would actually refer, I think, to MeFi Music.
posted by hippybear at 7:17 AM on January 16, 2010


He's angry because he's always hungry. What are the other English language words that end in -gry?
posted by fixedgear at 7:26 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll try to keep this somewhat un-graphic, but given the subject matter I suggest you read on at your peril. Let just say that I owe a debt to Taco Bell.

My future wife and I were on our way back to our apartment after a busy day, and needed something quick to eat for dinner before heading back out again, so we stopped at the Bell. We ordered the same thing, but for my side I had the cheesy chili fries, and my wife had something else that I don't recall.

That evening was one of the most horrific experiences in my life. Clearly the chili was not properly kept at the right temp, or was otherwise no longer fit for consumption since my future wife had no trouble at all. Lying in a cold running shower at 4am, refusing to wipe any more and just letting the cold water try to clean and anesthetize 'the area' was an epiphany for me. The epiphany was this: "Don't let teenagers working for minimum wage handle food products you are going to consume."

It took that night of horror to break me of a fast food habit, and I am thankful for it. To relate it to the subject of post, I think I lost about six or seven pounds that night.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:28 AM on January 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Quietly, without fanfare, the Bell has changed their burritos from being open on one end to being FOLDED IN ON BOTH ENDS"

I know you object to this practice, but it has at least one minor advantage: It makes the Taco Bell burrito that much more similar to a real burrito.

Also, burritos that are open at one end cause cancer.
posted by majick at 7:54 AM on January 16, 2010


you'd think the Internet was running out of space.

If the internet was limited, there would be no problem. But unfortunately, what's running out of space is our brains, which have an increasingly hard time filtering out the worthwhile information from the unlimited data now available.

It would be nice to have something that worked to filter out some of the uninteresting or misleading data before it reached our own filters - a pre-filter, or a meta-filter, if you will...
posted by roystgnr at 8:00 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was going to find a shallow excuse to link to the Combonation Pizza Hut and Taco Bell song, but then I couldn't, but I will anyway right here because as far as I'm concerned it's the zenith of american culture.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:07 AM on January 16, 2010


Jared could use this diet. He's gained weight.
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on January 16, 2010


Well, damn. Thwarted. But not for long!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:09 AM on January 16, 2010


The appalling thing (the other appalling thing, besides WinnipegDragon's post) is that corn tortillas, beans, rice, lettuce and tomato, are all pretty good for you, and beef or chicken that isn't salted down and then stored for weeks in its own fat can be pretty healthy, too. Taco Bell might be the least-bad fast food for a dieter, but there is no reason at all that it couldn't actually be pretty good for you. They don't think that actually healthy would sell, I guess, so they go for pretend healthy. Such is the way of the Free Market.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:09 AM on January 16, 2010


Not unknown for low-brow branding

In other words, "known for low-brow branding."
posted by grumblebee at 8:10 AM on January 16, 2010


the other appalling thing, besides WinnipegDragon's post

I live to give.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:12 AM on January 16, 2010


These commercials got nothing on the song Taco Bell by Justin Winokur, which I downloaded off his diaryland diary in 2002 or so and which still plays in my head every single time I walk by a Taco Bell. I mean, I could get a more expensive meal if I want to go elsewhere, but why would I want to?

Here's a Taco Bell diet tip: never buy the meals, which now cost, uh, way more than three dollars, thanks to the Biggie McHuge 700 calorie drink that comes with them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2010


(Whoops, just realized that you can still get it off his domain, which is probably better: link.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:50 AM on January 16, 2010


Toxic Blue?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on January 16, 2010


I actually like their Baja Chalupas. My brain knows they are terrible, but the taste? Strangely delicious. However for awhile they had "Santa Fe" flavored ones that were EVEN BETTER! 9 times out of 10 I go there I have a stomach ache later that day, so. I don't go there. If they just paid fractionally more per pound so their beef was vaguely higher in quality and just didn't make me sick, I might actually like the damn place.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:05 AM on January 16, 2010


Del Taco is better; not only can you get a taco, but you can get chili cheese fries too! It's gross but amazing. Plus there's always the hamburger option for your taco hating friends.
posted by Arbac at 9:12 AM on January 16, 2010


people who hate tacos are not my friend
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 AM on January 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like Taco Bell's Lady-Jared. There, I said it.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last Tuesday I was flipping through the channels, and I stopped for a few minutes on The Biggest Loser. I'm not exactly sure what they were doing; it looked like they were in the middle of shaming the overweight people into changing their diet, or something. Anyway, the overweight people were having a 'typical' meal of theirs, and it looked like Taco Bell. They didn't say it was, but it was fast food tacos of some sort.

And the trainer, Jillian, had to eat the meal with them.

I've never seen such looks of disgust before. Those tacos must've been awful. Or it was the general idea of preservatives and low grade meat that disturbed her. It was like watching Fear Factor.
posted by graventy at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2010


1) They tried healthy before... In the 90s when I worked there, they had "Lite" sourcream(aka: lumpy white watery thing) and low-fat cheese (aka: plastic). They tried this "healthy" thing back then. I can't remember, but *maybe* there was a low-fat meat, too. I think there was. Anyways, the low-fat meat wasn't too shabby, IMO, but the cheese and sour cream were godawful. My understanding is the new gimmick is to replace the cheese with pico sauce?

2) Do all their burritos now come double end wrapped? I know some of the bulkier ones I've had recently were. But didn't realize they were doing that with like, a bean burrito. That's just lame. I like to unwrap and add nacho cheese to the bean burrito (with sourcream) and crunch up chips on it. LOVE my chips on food.

3) I really wish they'd bring back the Rancho Steak Burrito. Those beans in that sauce and steak and sour cream was amazing!

4) True fact. One time this guy came into our store and asked us to make this item and try it. This was before they had a "double decker taco" on the menu. But that's what it was. So I wonder if he was a corporate dude coming in to gauge our reactions or if it was honestly some guy who liked it and someone who tasted it in one of the stores fed the idea higher up. Either way. I remember when it came down the pipeline, and being like "HEY! This is what that guy had us make that one day!"
posted by symbioid at 9:36 AM on January 16, 2010


I worked at Taco Bell for two years. A combination KFC/Tacobell. One of the benefits, (the only benefit if you don't count "valuable life experiences and friendships", which you should but some people don't), was that you could on a whim make whatever food monstrosity you wanted. Nacho-cheese-fiesta-salsa-popcorn-chicken-potato-wedges, (with the green onions, until it turned out they were poisoned.), biscuits coated in so much butter they glowed, these were the things that kept me fed. Occasionally I see a Taco Bell commercial and get nostalgic. So thanks for this post Juicy Avenger.
posted by Peztopiary at 9:37 AM on January 16, 2010


Oh, ha! Then they had an employee of the month type deal, called "Bell Ringers" where if you were the employee you got your pic of some cheap tzotchkes. I ended up getting a pack of cards that had the eponymous bell with the word "Bell Ringers".

I lost them for a while, but found it years later, and then it occurred to me that some guy was very ingenious in his selecting of that term. Very... Pavlovian, you could say.
posted by symbioid at 9:38 AM on January 16, 2010


Good good fresh fresh.

Any time is Taco Time.



So hungry and so far away from Mexi-Fries and a crispy bean burrito...
posted by Neofelis at 9:38 AM on January 16, 2010


Oh and finally, sorry to be spamming here, but, with the pizza-hut/taco-bell vid, and discussion of taco pizzas, surely we can't be remiss to post: Taco Town
posted by symbioid at 9:39 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the trainer, Jillian, had to eat the meal with them.

I haven't seen it happen in a long time, but used to be that when Conan would have Martha Stewart on, he would always have her eat some fast-food confection that you know she would never go near on her own. But she's always a great sport about it.
posted by troybob at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2010


some hostile posts got deleted from the early thread here, which is good; but now my initial post looks kinda like overkill ranting of a crazy person. Or at least more like the ranting of a crazy person than before.
posted by troybob at 10:11 AM on January 16, 2010


I've gone hungry on several occasions rather than put that garbage in my mouth. Taco Bell is made from liquefied soiled hospital bedsheets and euthanized stray animals.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on January 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Every time I drive past Taco Bell I see their sign touting the "Volcano Taco". I bet it's because it gives you diarrhea that burns as it comes out.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:31 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never seen such looks of disgust before. Those tacos must've been awful. Or it was the general idea of preservatives and low grade meat that disturbed her. It was like watching Fear Factor.

or more likely she was playing it up for the camera. You were aware you were watching TV, weren't you?
posted by sourwookie at 10:40 AM on January 16, 2010


Wow, the dumbness of the ad seems post worthy enough to me. I agree that ads are annoying and generally not worthy of viewing (that is exactly the reason why I don't subscribe to cable television).

So now I am ad starved and I appreciate seeing these because they validate my deep depression...er I mean crack me up.

b.t.w how many people went and bought a taco today because of this post? we should find out.
posted by lonelid at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2010


Taco Bell / Tacos = Blink 182 / Punk
posted by signal at 11:35 AM on January 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Actually I can vouch for this... back in 1997 I lost about 30 pounds in 3 months eating Taco Bell (and we're talking plain tacos ONLY for lunch and dinner). That said, I haven't eaten there in years since I don't trust their beef supply (esp. given the bury-head-in-sand approach to BSE in this country) and I saw how they tried to wash their hands of that E. coli problem a few years ago.
posted by crapmatic at 11:57 AM on January 16, 2010


Taco Bell? Taco Hell! Taco Smell! MIGHTY TACO FOR TEH WIN.
posted by oflinkey at 12:02 PM on January 16, 2010


I haven't eaten there in years since I don't trust their beef supply (esp. given the bury-head-in-sand approach to BSE in this country)

Just to follow up to that, a few years ago the media ran a story about a guy who ate Taco Bell every day for decades... I found it interesting that he died of Alzheimers. As a scientist I know quite well that correlation does not equal causation, and he WAS 89, but it makes me wonder.
posted by crapmatic at 12:06 PM on January 16, 2010


fixedgear Any item of food (well, almost any) that costs a buck is guaranteed to suck. Think about it. Grow (GMO) corn, harvest corn, ship corn, grind corn, make taco shell, ship taco shell. Make (BGH) milk, make cheese, ship cheese. Grow lettuce, ship lettuce. Grow tomato, ship tomato. Raise cow, slaughter cow, grind up cow, make mystery meat. Put it all together and sell it for a buck? And everyone along the way got a few cents?

Maybe Peztopiary can verify this, but when my friend worked as a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut shift manager for about a year, he told me that the unit cost of a beef taco was a paltry 11 cents. So take all of your back-of-the-napkin calculations and slash by a factor of ten.
posted by dr_dank at 12:19 PM on January 16, 2010


dr_dank: A one-dollar apple is not guaranteed to suck. ICE-BUUURN.
Burhanistan:Taco Bell is made from liquefied soiled hospital bedsheets and euthanized stray animals. This is a feature, not a bug.
signal: I always thought Blink 182 was fake emo, not fake punk, but I feel you nonetheless.
posted by Mister_A at 12:36 PM on January 16, 2010


some hostile posts got deleted from the early thread here, which is good; but now my initial post looks kinda like overkill ranting of a crazy person. Or at least more like the ranting of a crazy person than before.

Rude, not hostile. And serves you right. I have no idea what this FPP is even still doing here...

This is clearly a marketing site pushing unhealthy food to people insecure about their weight. Drive thru diet?? How about Drive thru Dick? There is plenty of space on the internet for that trash, including a TB campaign site by the same name, an Advertising Age article and so on and so forth.

The kind of weight loss TB is pushing on that site is egregiously and aggressively irresponsible, both medically and even just on a psychological level. The kind of weight loss experienced by Christine, only happens through a healthy balanced diet, low in fat, sugars and salt, and a committed and sustained exercise routine.

In other, words a lifestyle change.

I was a bit heavy handed with what I perceived to be a clear Pepsi Taco Blue attack, and for that I extend my apologies to Juicy Avenger.

But let's look at the facts: It was posted at 5 AM on a Saturday, with an article to Advertising Age and included a free coupon for a Taco Bell taco and I don't know, call me crazy but, clearly not best of the web.

So, again my apologies to Ms. Juicy Avenger again, but Taco Bell doesn't need any help getting its message across, even in a jokey way, and if your intention was to show the absurdity of the campaign, perhaps you might've focussed on the realities of weight loss, diet, exercise, the poor body images foisted by marketers on women, over and over and over again to feed off their insecurities, sometimes as iin this case in the most cynical and disturbingly mendacious and sleazy manner.

This is what I think about when I think about Taco Bell.
posted by Skygazer at 12:46 PM on January 16, 2010


sourwookie: "or more likely she was playing it up for the camera. You were aware you were watching TV, weren't you?"

But..but....it was reality TV!!

*cries*
posted by graventy at 1:02 PM on January 16, 2010


He's angry because he's always hungry. What are the other English language words that end in -gry?

Aggry is the one I like--it's a kind of bead.
posted by box at 1:11 PM on January 16, 2010


...perhaps you might've focussed on the realities of weight loss, diet, exercise, the poor body images foisted by marketers on women...

I don't get it...are you arguing that an ad shouldn't be discussed because it necessitates a repetition of the ad and thus serves the marketer's purpose, or are you arguing that an ad shouldn't be discussed without layering it with contextual elements with which we are already well familiar?

Or i don't know, maybe you've found a way to discuss and undermine the nefarious messages embedded in advertising that doesn't involve exposure to the ad itself.
posted by troybob at 1:31 PM on January 16, 2010


If you pick your dishes wisely (i.e. chicken tacos or gorditas, fresco style) and don't get the "salad" or "pizza" or god forbid the "empanadas," Taco Bell is one of the most diet-friendly fast food joints around. You can spend around $4 and get a meal that may be loaded with preservatives and low-grade food but doesn't taste awful (YMMV of course) and won't wreck your diet. Seriously. That's a product most fast food joints don't offer. Why is it a scandal that they're advertising this? (And this isn't a bad FPP at all...people with a problem with it should go to MeTa.)

Thanks for being the only person in this entire post that I agree with graymouser.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2010


Does anyone else think that she looks more attractive in the "before" picture? Kudos to her for losing the weight, though.
posted by XMLicious at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2010


I seriously do not understand the hostility being directed at this post. Advertisements that push the boundaries of truth (or that, indeed, just march right across them) deserve to be examined and criticised. The "free publicity" argument is one thing, but if this campaign can be properly dissected and the results sent far and wide enough, Taco Bell may have to backpedal on this thing.

The links are fine, the text is mostly fine (although I would've omitted the "To me this "diet" gleams with grandiose satire but" part) and the subject matter - both whether Taco Bell is being cynical, accurate or both, and with regards to marketing in general - is interesting. Just my $0.02.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:07 PM on January 16, 2010


This is a feature, not a bug.

There are also some bugs in there too, probably roaches.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:17 PM on January 16, 2010


"Don't let teenagers working for minimum wage handle food products you are going to consume."

Even if their burritos are no longer open-ended, you'll be after eating them.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:25 PM on January 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Taco Bell? Taco Hell! Taco Smell! MIGHTY TACO FOR TEH WIN.

Mighty Taco is indeed for great justice, if only within the limited realm of fast food.

But you can't link to Mighty Taco without linking to their magnificent "We are fully aware that 114% of our customers are utterly baked" ads.

Do you have unwanted gold?

Also, one of the first times we went there after we moved to WNY the little dude behind the counter was like unnaturally chipper and he looked at me and I shit you not asked me "Welcome to Mighty Taco, how may we satisfy your nutritional requirements?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


how may we satisfy your nutritional requirements?


Dear Cooperate America:

If you used this phrase more often, preferably spoken by an outlandishly chipper robot in a polyester uniform, I might consume more of your products.

Love,

-TW
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on January 16, 2010


i didn't want taco bell at the start of reading the comments, and now at the end, i could totally go for a seven layer burrito.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2010


Taco Bell has to be the most disappointing fast food. I mean, they promise you Tex-Mexican food, some of the most flavorful food on Earth, and then you basically get a flour tube filled with bland human dog food. You can put sauce on it, but it doesn't do much to enhance it. It's just pure heat, rather than a rounded, pepper-and-vinegary hot sauce you'd get at a sit down place.

Plus, for just a tiny fraction more, there is probably a cheap Mexican place in your town that caters to the Latino population.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:06 PM on January 16, 2010


Maybe it's just tacos that are linked to being utterly baked, and not the particular restaurant.
posted by hippybear at 3:07 PM on January 16, 2010


PS: I also wish they offered flan or Tres Leche cake. But they don't. And those are the Tex-Mex desserts I crave the hardest but usually end up making myself this far north.

It seems to me they could use their crazy fast food distribution technology to serve refrigerated cake and egg pudding. They could probably just borrow some Jello Pudding aseptic packaging technology, and not even need a refrigerator or anything fancy.

Also, while we're at it, I'd love Cafe con Leche, even if it were made from concentrate. It's a niche Starbucks and McDonald's haven't filled. I'm sure you could probably work out a deal with Cafe Bustello.

And WTF re: cupcakes and none of my above ponies? As a foodie who abstains from your restaurant, I would expect you to care about my opinions, Taco Bell. BURRITO.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:13 PM on January 16, 2010


I could use something utterly baked right about now.

And by that I mean a taco (Central Europe, Paprika is not enough!)
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on January 16, 2010


Beats the hell outta that awful Jared character, who always struck me as a guy who seethes with anger on the inside.

I dunno. IIRC, he's got a lifetime contract with them, something crazy like that. If so, he's seething all the way to the bank.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:15 PM on January 16, 2010


Also, burritos that are open at one end cause cancer.

Only in rats. Drunk rats going through the drive through and ordering like 100 volcano tacos.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:21 PM on January 16, 2010


mccarty.tim: Plus, for just a tiny fraction more, there is probably a cheap Mexican place in your town that caters to the Latino population.

Also: this same argument times a million for the places with a neon cactus and something mild covered in cheese and sour cream to sell to white people for 20$ and pretend it is a burrito. You can get something so much better for so much less money, and it isn't usually even far away!

Bah.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:31 PM on January 16, 2010


Has anybody else had one of these? It's an all caramel Milky Way. That's fucking kick-ass. As for this ad campaign, if you think that you can lose weight eating at taco bell, maybe you deserve to be fat.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on January 16, 2010


Advertisements that push the boundaries of truth (or that, indeed, just march right across them) deserve to be examined and criticised. The "free publicity" argument is one thing, but if this campaign can be properly dissected and the results sent far and wide enough, Taco Bell may have to backpedal on this thing.

This whole thread reaction has struck me as prejudging the potential diet value of Taco Bell's food. Seriously. A fresco style chicken soft taco (you order it "ranchero" but they don't put the godawful ranch dressing on it) is 170 calories, 4 grams of fat, and actually has some vegetation on it. No cheese, no ridiculous sauces. The only other thing that comes close in the fast food world is Subway - their sandwiches are low in fat (until you add cheese) but run higher in calories b/c of the whole bread thing.

What is there to be dissected? The pico de gallo that they throw on the fresco style tacos is probably the best-tasting thing they have to offer, and it's adding negligible calories and no fat. Their food's not catastrophically bad for you until you layer cheese and sour cream on it. If you are on a diet and want to work fast food into it (because it's cheap, quick and maybe you even like the crap), Taco Bell is one of your best choices. Am I the only one who sees that as a good thing?
posted by graymouser at 4:39 PM on January 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


We don't have that chain here in Vancouver at all, and their locations are rare in the province. After years of hearing about this place, and never having eaten there, I finally stopped in at the one in Squamish on my way back from Whistler. Hungry as I was, I threw that crap in the garbage. I'm always amazed at what Americans confuse with food.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:50 PM on January 16, 2010


There are no Taco Bells in Japan (outside of some US military bases, anyway) and that's just real fuckin' fine with me.

APOSTATE!

The only times I wish for Taco Bell in Japan is when I've just seen yet another Mexican restaurant charging the equivalent of US$10 for two tacos, rice, and a salad that's mostly cabbage. Give me junk food or and give me death!
posted by armage at 5:04 PM on January 16, 2010


Man all this talk of crap food is really making me crave WHite Castle. It somehow manages to taste good (especially if your shitfaced drunk) scratch a that crack cocaine cultural itch, cheap (59 fuckin' CENTS per slider) and healthy too, if you don't eat it too much and it's part of a healthy balanced diet!!

And check it out: They're reserving tables for Valentines Day. Because nothing, and I really mean NOTHING, says "Baby, Ima take you home and bang you until the diarrhea kicks in," (or my roommate gets home)" like White Castle.

Did you know a slider is only 140 calories, that's right. You can eat TEN and still be within your daily allowed calorie intake of 1400 calories, as long as you let the castle be part of a "healthy balanced diet."

Shit. I should of made this an FPP.

Dammit.

posted by Skygazer at 6:04 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh nooooes!!11111 Here CUMS DA CRAVE!!!11!!!!!

HOPE ME!! HOPE ME!!11 SOMEBODY HOPE ME!!!
posted by Skygazer at 6:06 PM on January 16, 2010


OMG, Skygazer, White Castle's website is so snarky. Like their menu description for sausage: "Sausage. Keep it simple. This is strictly a sausage-fest."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:13 PM on January 16, 2010


Their food's not catastrophically bad for you until you layer cheese and sour cream on it.

So this is what I've been doing wrong. But what if you get sides of cheese sauce and sour cream, mix them together, and then dunk your burrito in it between bites? I heard this was the healthy way to do it, because the sauces don't have time to meld with the food. Sounds sciency enough for me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:28 PM on January 16, 2010


*Eyes squinting off into the distance.*

No little PhoBWanKenobi, no.

The Castle is not simply snark.

It's a path, chosen, we have...

It's a way of life.
posted by Skygazer at 6:34 PM on January 16, 2010


Oh, no disagreements about the awesomeness of the burgers (though, Jerseyan that I am, I'm a bit more of a sucker for White Manna, myself).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:40 PM on January 16, 2010


Blasphemy.
posted by Skygazer at 7:11 PM on January 16, 2010


Taco Bell is made from liquefied soiled hospital bedsheets and euthanized stray animals.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You want all that stuff to go into some landfill?
posted by Evilspork at 8:29 PM on January 16, 2010


A guide to "its" and "it's".

That is all. Never been to Taco Bell, never will. See also.
posted by intermod at 8:56 PM on January 16, 2010


jonmc, why do you hate my pancreas? I now have to walk across the street and bang on the door of the convenience store until they let me in to buy every last one of those.
(Mars Blue)
posted by crataegus at 9:26 PM on January 16, 2010


Once or twice a decade a get a craving for Taco Bell, and by the time I'm done eating it, I'm sitting there thinking, "I wanted this...why?!"

Now, Del Taco, on the other hand...well, Del Taco starts serving their breakfast burritos at 11:00 pm, and there is no better snack after a club or concert than a couple of those things, especially if you get an order of french fries and then jam them into the burrito (they used to come that way on their own, but they don't anymore).
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:49 PM on January 16, 2010


Wow. The snark level in this thread was way higher than I expected.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed about these ads was the not-so-small print saying "THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM" and also mentioning some specifics, along with "proper diet and exercise."

I wish that all commercials were at least that honest.
posted by drstein at 10:10 PM on January 16, 2010


The snark level was nowhere near high enough, given the crap quality of the product and the crap advertising campaign.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 AM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: this same argument times a million for the places with a neon cactus and something mild covered in cheese and sour cream to sell to white people for 20$ and pretend it is a burrito.

Like Toronto burritos. I hate how they use refrigerated tortillas, slop a whole bunch of random crap on them, fold them up into a weird little bundle, and then GRILL them. And they're really popular (Burrito Boyz anyone?) I'm always amazed at what Canadians confuse with Mexican food.
posted by pravit at 9:25 AM on January 17, 2010


Is it bad that this article made me want a fries supreme?
posted by James Cooper at 1:45 PM on January 17, 2010


Things that are amazing: Taco Bells surviving in Albuquerque, New Mexico
posted by NoraReed at 8:55 PM on January 17, 2010


I knew there should be Taco Bells left at Albuquerque!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:39 PM on January 17, 2010


*munches carrot*
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:40 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Things that are amazing: Taco Bells surviving in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hey, I've heard there's an Outback Steakhouse in Brisbane, Australia, so this doesn't surprise me all that much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:41 AM on January 18, 2010


In related news: Taco Bell founder dies at age 86.
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on January 18, 2010


Mmmm, packaged flan. There you go, mccarty.tim.

Is it the ne plus ultra of flan? No, it is not. Will it do? Yes, nicely. And the Mercado edition of one of our locally-owned supermarket chains has it by the pallet-load, so I can't imagine it's hard to find elsewhere. (Or just cheat and get a 36-pack of the make-it-yourself version delivered).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2010


Taco Bell has to be the most disappointing fast food. I mean, they promise you Tex-Mexican food

It's certainly not Tex-Mex but that's not surprising considering that Glen Bell was a California boy. Even for Cali-Mex it's not that great. As you said, if you live in either land you can get real tacos for not much more that are orders of magnitude better.

I mean, what the hell is ground beef doing on a taco? This should be asada, pastor or, if you're more adventurous, sesos, lengua or something along those lines.
posted by briareus at 1:10 PM on January 18, 2010


Oh shit, Glen Bell just died y'all.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:28 PM on January 18, 2010


Really? ; )
posted by ericb at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2010


As the Associated Press writes, the 86-year-old Bell was "best known as the founder of the Taco Bell chain." He died Sunday at his home in Rancho Sante Fe, Calif. The cause of death hasn't yet been reported.

Bell was found slumped at his desk in front of a computer screen, displaying a page rendered in an unprofessional blue color. Coronial investigations are continuing.

posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Creamed meat can't be good for the colon or the waist.

Seriously, ever make a home made taco? Ground beef isn't creamed.
posted by stormpooper at 9:16 AM on January 19, 2010


I'm incredibly late to the party, but I'm stunned by how many posts are either "this shouldn't be here, wah wah" or "omg taco bell sucks/is awesome" and not actually about the concept of Taco Bell advertising themselves as a potential way to lose weight, which is what the FPP is actually about.

It amazes me that it took 10 years for a major fast-food chain to come up with a response to Jared Fogle, and that it was Taco Bell that did it. McDonald's had their Go Active meal for a while, but nobody else has put a face on using fast food as a diet plan.

Of course, the difference between Taco Bell and Subway is that the subs have a hint of nutrition and minimal sodium, while the Fresco items are loaded with sodium and minimal nutrition.
posted by etoile at 9:09 AM on January 26, 2010


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