January 29th, 2013

From a public relations standpoint it is often a wise tactic to attempt to analyze who might be offended by any media pronouncements your company might be making.

Nowadays, it almost seems as if someone or some group is looking to be offended.

As an example, recently a Kansas City TV anchor referred to San Francisco as “San Fransicko” at the end of a newscast and one gay guy was so offended he started a Facebook site to get the anchor fired. The anchor had to go on a local radio talk show an apologize for his remark.

Ironically, the anchor used the term only after reporting that some residents in SF were trying to get a measure passed to allow public nudity.  It had nothing to do with gays or their gay agenda, but that didn’t stop him from being offended.

Taco Bell has now found itself in basically the same position and being forced to pull an ad it developed because it “attacked” vegetables.

It now seems as if vegetables might move into the area of being a protected class in society.

Taco Bell had developed the ad promoting its new 12-pack of Tacos and made fun of people who bring vegetables to a football watch party.

A voice-over says that everyone knows that bringing veggies to game day “is like punting at fourth and one. It’s a cop-out and secretly, people kind of hate you for it.” The 15-second spot was created by DraftFCB.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (AKA the “Food Police”) did not find the ad one bit funny.

“It’s bad enough that there aren’t many ads on television for broccoli, kale, or carrots,” noted the group. “The last thing healthy fruits and vegetables needed was to be the subject of attack ads.”

An obviously beleaguered Taco Bell spokesperson clarified why his company yanked the offending spot, “We didn’t want anyone to misinterpret the intent of the ad.”

9 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    As a 35 year vegetarian, with a sense of humor, and possibly the only remaining adult in this group, I take offense at the offense.
    To be offended by something does not mean it is offensive.

    To have fun is not against the law, at this point anyway.
    There ARE other points of view.

    YOUR’S is not the center of the universe.
    “Activists” do not have the corner on “concern”.

    Please allow those of us with a matured ability to discern make decisions about the worth of an item.

  2. Pat Carlson says:

    Interesting, given that Taco Bell is somewhat vegetarian-friendly. Certainly more so than any other fast food chain I can think of.

    Its light menu was great, although it has been discontinued.

    Now, you can order anything fresco style; dairy (cheese, etc.) is replaced with a fresh and tasty salsa. No extra charge.

    I love TB’s Bean Burrito fresco-style. It’s vegan! It’s tasty! It’s low-fat! It’s cheap!

  3. harwood benjamin says:

    Nobody “forced” Taco Bell to pull the ad. It made its own decision after weighing the pros and cons. The company wouldn’t have acted if it didn’t conclude that the complainant had a point. A teeny, tiny, nearly insignificant point, but my guess is Taco Bell was feeling a little guilty about contributing to the awful eating habits of Overweight America.

    • JohnLandsberg says:

      When the food police go after your company you had better back down or they could make your life hell.

      • Pat Carlson says:

        On the other hand, when you draw attention from health advocates, it can be great publicity. More people will buy greasy ground beef tacos 10 at a time than will buy one veggie tray.

        The “food police” pejorative doesn’t fit. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has no official standing or enforcement power whatsoever.

        On the other hand, there are laws in many states (including Kansas) which prohibit the “disparagement” of agricultural products (e.g., beef). Oprah was tried for violating such a law in Texas, after she had the audacity to say she would never eat another hamburger. So, there are food police. The police are the food police! I hear no outcry about such disparagement laws which clearly restrict free speech.

  4. David Remley says:

    Thought is required. The best time to pull an ad is before it runs.

  5. Travis says:

    This is literally one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. If vegetarians are this wussy and thin-skinned, they need to dig into a big ole hearty steak just to toughen them up a little. What a bunch of wussies!

  6. Rick Nichols says:

    In a certain sense Taco Bell had this coming to them since it was Taco Bell that within the past two or three years managed to get the federal government to keep secret certain information that would have allowed the general public to know that there was a health problem (i.e., sickness) connected to some of the food it had been serving. Taco Bell was simply identified as “Restaurant Chain A” in the government’s report and that was it. Shame on Taco Bell for covering this matter up! As long as Uncle Sam and Corporate America are bedmates, the general public had better beware.

  7. Jeff Fletcher says:

    Taco Bell has scaled back on the number of vegetarian options at their fast food “restaurants” so it’s not surprising they would air an ad like that. Oh, well…I’d never eat there again. I am a vegetarian and they don’t want to cater to us, so be it. Plenty of other options are available, and better for me anyway.

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