Photo: By tspauld on Flickr
Last year at about this time, Taco Bell broke crisis management rules by publicizing a lawsuit filed by a former employee who alleged that its taco filling did not meet the FDA requirements for ground beef.Taco Bell put full-page ads in major newspapers with the headline “Thanks for suing us.”
This was a mistake since it violated step one of crisis management protocols for handling rumours, which are…
- Don’t publicize the allegations (denying is publicizing).
- Promote the opposite of what the suit says without mentioning the allegations.
- Provide independent credible 3rd-party proof to support step two.
Because the company did not follow this procedure, comedians and talk show hosts such as Stephen Colbert had a “field day” making fun of the Taco Bell ingredients after the company felt pressured to publish them.
While the charges in the lawsuit were eventually dropped, the damage from Taco Bell’s handling of the matter caused a significant decline in sales in 2011.
As a result, Taco Bell’s Franchise Management Advisory Council pushed for an agency review to improve the situation.
This year, as part of the effort to revive still sluggish sales, Taco Bell just introduced its new slogan “Live Mas.”
Are they kidding?
Luckily, the company name tells the marketplace something about their main product line – tacos. The slogan and logo affords Tacos Bell the opportunity to add some value. It is hard to see how “Live Mas” does that.
Taco Bell’s Explanation
According to the Taco Bell party line, the new slogan emphasises the brand’s “commitment to value, quality, relevance and an exceptional experience.” It signifies a move from the idea of “food as fuel” to food as experience and lifestyle.
So now Taco Bell is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand? As Bill Maher said, “What do you expect when your taco costs less than a pack of gum? What kind of lifestyle does that represent?
What should a slogan do?
Working together with the company name and logo, the slogan should …
- Further the relationship between the company and its target audience
- Communicate benefits of buying company products
- Give good reasons for the target audience to buy Taco Bell products
- Help to distinguish Taco Bell from competitors
- Get the target audience members to want to buy Taco Bell products.
If the company wants to use Spanglish, perhaps it can say Mas Taste, Mas flavour, Mas Beef (although this may raise issues that should not be raised), Mas Value. If nothing else, these slogans would plant benefits into buyer brains.
Why this slogan falls short
“Live Mas” is a command, and some in every audience don’t like to be commanded by a company. The previous slogan “Live outside the bun” was also a command albeit a cuter, mas-clever one than “Live Mas.”
There is no benefit. Why should anyone buy Taco Bell products?
There is no uniqueness. What company could not use the same slogan?
If Taco Bell wants to revive sales, the company needs to find out from its core customers what it does for them; why they prefer Taco Bell over other taco-themed chains; why they care about the Taco Bell brand.
Once it collects this information, it can craft a slogan that will remind members of its target audience why they should choose Taco Bell above others. Live Mas doesn’t do that.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.