Taco Bell demands lawsuit apology in full-page ad
Contrary to popular sentiment, revenge may be a dish best served in a warm flour tortilla.
You no doubt heard of January’s lawsuit against Taco Bell, which alleged the fast food giant’s “seasoned beef” wasn’t really beef at all, rather a “meat filling” that contained less than 50 per cent beef. Of course you did, it was all over the newspapers, blogs and late-night talk shows.
But what you might not have heard was the far lesser-reported dropping of the lawsuit last week, after Taco Bell stood its ground for months and waged a pricey marketing campaign aimed at defending itself. And now, damnit, the Mexican food chain wants an apology.
Indeed, the world is far less abuzz with coverage of the dropped Taco Bell lawsuit (the restaurant proved its meat is really 88 per cent beef and 12 per cent “signature recipe,” which can be viewed on their website) so the Yum! Brands subsidiary has decided to get personal.
Taco Bell recently took out the giant ad you see to your left (click here for finer print), a full-page slam that ran in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times and New York Times. According to some sources, the restaurant may also place them in more local papers, in both English and Spanish.
“Would it kill you to say you’re sorry?” the ad reads, calling out in no specific terms the Alabama law firm that originally filed the beef suit. “We didn’t change our marketing or product disclosures (after the suit) because we’ve already been completely transparent … As for the lawyers who brought this suit: You got it wrong, and you’re probably feeling pretty bad right about now.”
A jilted refrain, sure, but so it goes for a major company in today’s age of scepticism. With the public temperature as it is now for corporations, anyone can sue or allege whatever they want with little repercussion.
But when such a lawsuit gets international attention like Taco Bell’s did, we’re talking real damage here. The restaurant admitted it had to spend millions defending itself these past months, and even that may not have fully worked: according to Taco Bell’s chief financial officer, sales slumped – and have not yet rebounded – following the suit.
So it’s with that we offer a little bit of kudos to Taco Bell, the Goliath that should be applauded for swatting away David. In this case, where it appears such slanderous claims were baseless, it’s a little refreshing for Taco Bell, which has also released a video asking for an apology on YouTube, to show that it can hurt, too.
As Slate writer Jack Shafer said of Arianna Huffington, who is being sued for $105 million in a “bunk” claim by former Huffington Post employees, perhaps the U.S. is turning into a “nation of Winklevosses," who "file legal motion after legal motion every time a pot of money is spotted.”
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*Follow Jason on Twitter here. Image courtesy: Eater.com.