While MCM.com’s editor is dating herself by referencing Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef,” campaign, that’s the question many fast-food enthusiasts were asking themselves last week when a class action lawsuit was filed accusing Yum Brands’ Taco Bell of false advertising for claiming to use “seasoned beef” or “seasoned ground beef” in its fare, and instead serving “taco meat filling,” while the remainder consists mainly of “extenders” and other non-meat substances. Yum, indeed!
However, the Yum! Brands has launched a national advertising campaign debunking “Filler-gate” by taking out full-page ads in national and local newspapers to fend off charges made in the suit. In addition, they have launched an online campaign, including YouTube [see video above], Facebook and Twitter.
The ad, which is a letter from Taco Bell president Greg Creed, lists the ingredients, once and for all:
“Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about seasoned beef. The claims made against Taco Bell and our seasoned beef are absolutely false. The only reason we add anything to our beef is to give the meat flavor and quality. So here are the REAL percentages. 88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe.” The ad goes on to elaborate on that 12%, saying that the rest consists of water (about 3%), spices (about 4%), and “oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5%).”
Read more and see full ad
Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer told the following to AdAge via email:
“Our number one priority is to inform and reassure our customers and employees,” said David Ovens, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer in an email statement to Ad Age. “So we are defending the reputation of the brand in the same way you’d defend your own reputation if someone made false accusations about you. We are telling our customers the truth using only the facts about our food.”
So will the ingredient breakdown make consumers trust in the Taco Bell brand again? Only time – and sales – will tell.