As growing number of brands are beginning to indulge in the benefits social media for marketing and promotion, the tainted Taco Bell has launched a damage control campaign on these online platforms.
The American restaurant chain that specialises in Mexican-style food came under scrutiny after it was sued by an Alabama law firm for using non-beef substances. The lawsuit also alleges that the protein in soft taco value meal is not meat filling and fails to qualify as ground beef by the Department of Agriculture's standards. According to the suit, a major portion of Taco Bell's ground beef is made from fillers like soybean oil and silicon dioxide.
Taco Bell immediately jumped into the defensive mode. Noting that majority of the criticisim was pouring in on the internet, the food chain chose to fight on the same battlefied and took to platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
On Thursday, the food chain uploaded a video on YouTube, titled 'Of Course We Use Real Beef!', featuring Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell, asserting that Taco Bell beef is 100% USDA inspected. He goes on to clarify that the chain's seasoned ground beef is 88 percent meat, with components like seasoning, spices and water making up the remaining 12 percent. Creed even gave out the secret recipe with the run down of the components: water, Mexican spices including salt, chilli powder, onion powder, Tomato powder along with other ingredients such as oats, caramelized sugar, and yeast.
The video so far has over 24,000 views with a range of responses in the comments. One user felt, Yum Brands will be ditching it soon. Companies can't ever recover from an incident like this. This company went from king of fast food and bankrupt in a few days. What a shame. On the other hand, there were several who believed that any publicity is good publicity while few others admitted that all the talk around the Taco Bell meat has only increased their apetite for it.
The food chain has also invited people to Get the facts and take a look at the list of ingredients on its website. In fact, the retaliatory ad came after Taco Bell's continual clarification on its website on the lawsuit.
A January 25 statement on the class action lawsuit had the same facts as in the video along with the assertion, Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later - and got their facts absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food.
The Updated Class Action Lawsuit Statement posted on January 26 reasserted, The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products. There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this.
On Facebook, Taco Bell has over 5,000,000 fans. The food chain is making use of the social networking site as well to woo its patrons. But the comments seem to show that Taco Bell does not have a big task ahead as people still love their food.
Let's all face it. No matter what it is (really) We like it or we wouldn't keep going back. I love Taco Bell Food. I think they are telling the truth. But really, truth or not, I'm eating it and will continue to eat it because it taste good. The calories and nutritional value will be the same no matter what they declare. I'm heading for the Border where the Bell rings loud and clear. Yum, commented a user, Bob Smith.
Furthermore, Taco Bell is keeping its 47,000+ followers on the microblogging site Twitter informed as well as entertained on the latest updates on the lawsuit. The food chain is tweeting on the media coverage of the suit.
The latest post on Twitter reads, Lawsuits aren't funny, but this parody makes me LOL! ;-) http://t.co/AHjtXDM #LaughOnUs #TacoBell
The link leads to 'The Colbert Report' parody with funnyman Stephen Colbert saying things like, No wonder they call it a Beefy crunch burrito. It is beef--y or beefish. At the very least its beef adjacent. On a scale of 1 to beef, its got something in there.