Taco Bell wants an apology

New ad campaign asks plaintiff in beef lawsuit to say sorry, reiterates 'quality' ingredients

Not content with just the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging its seasoned beef, Taco Bell debuted a new ad campaign on Wednesday, set to “reinforce the truth” about its products and marketing.

The quick-service chain wants to emphasize to consumers once again that claims questioning the ingredients in its signature taco meat and the allegations of false advertising were unwarranted. The new campaign states that no settlement was made, no changes to food products were undertaken and no money exchanged hands.

“Plain and simple, their attorneys got it wrong and took it back,” Taco Bell chief executive Greg Creed said in a video message posted on YouTube [3].

The chain also ran full page ads in national publications such as The New York Times, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, in which the chain asks: “Would it kill you to say you’re sorry?” (See the full ad [4])

Plaintiff Amanda Obney filed the widely publicized lawsuit in January charging that Taco Bell’s seasoned beef contained fillers and extenders and was falsely advertised as beef. On Monday, the law firm representing Obney announced that the lawsuit would be dropped [5].

Attorney W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III of Montgomery, Ala.-based Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles P.C., said in a statement that the lawsuit would be dismissed after meeting with Taco Bell officials and seeing the company’s responsive action.

Miles said in a statement that the lawsuit resulted in “changes in marketing and product disclosures.”

In its sassy new ad campaign, Taco Bell countered that statement, saying the chain had made no changes to products or ingredients, and no changes to advertising. In addition, there was no settlement and no money was exchanged, the chain said.

“Like we’ve been saying all along, we stand behind the quality of every single one of our ingredients, including our seasoned beef,” the ads say. “We didn’t change our marketing or product disclosures because we’ve always been completely transparent. Their lawyers may claim otherwise, but make no mistake, that’s just them trying to save a little face.”

Speaking directly to the lawyers representing the plaintiff, the ads continue: “You got it wrong, and you’re probably feeling pretty bad right about now. But you know what always helps? Saying to everyone, ‘I’m sorry.’”

A spokeswoman for law firm Beasley Allen said attorneys had no comment.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell chain includes about 5,600 locations operated and franchised by Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [6].