It’s tempting to assume the class action lawsuit facing Taco Bell for falsely claiming its meat filling is “seasoned beef” will damage the brand in some important way. But I don’t think that will happen. Here’s why:
- The lawsuit is over a technical issue. Does anyone really know the difference between “seasoned beef” and whatever fills a chalupa? No one is claiming physical damage. No harm, no foul.
- Taco Bell’s customers — mostly ravenous young men between 16 and 25 — aren’t exactly hunting for health food. If it tastes good (for under $4) they’ll eat it. If they really cared what they were putting in their mouths, they’d belly up to the salad bar.
- Taco Bell is handling the situation in textbook fashion, with statements from their CEO and complete disclosure of exactly what’s in their filling. Social media takes the blame for spreading rumor, but it can also be used to spread truth (or a version of it). Taco Bell has been quick to respond. Bravo. They’ve veen bought pay-per-click to gain presence when people search the “seasoned beef” controversy. If you haven’t seen CEO John Ramsey’s video, here it is:
In an odd way, this flap may actually redound to TB’s favor. Sure their “seasoned beef” will serve to fill late night monologues for a few weeks, they also have the opportunity to tell their story to an attentive audience. Who knows? The brand may actually get stronger.