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As the saying goes: "Any press is good press." For Taco Bell this may ring true. In light of the Taco Bell beef controversy, the company has taken this opportunity to embrace the press by placing full page ads in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times thanking Beasely Allen for filing a class action lawsuit against them, enabling the release of the not-so secret ingredients in the seasoned beef. The company has even addressed this issue on their web and social media sites adding a little humor stating that "plain ground beef tastes boring."
Domino's took this same approach with their "Oh yes we did" campaign by admitting that their pizzas were not up to par and working to make sure the taste, quality and ingredients used in their pizzas were not just sub standard, but a notch above the rest for a mass produced pizza chain. Late night hosts asked people walking down the street how they felt about the news of the Taco Bell scandal, and most people didn't seem to care. They didn't go to Taco Bell for a quality or nutritious meal, as long as it tastes good, they are happy. My fiance and his friends went as far as supporting Taco Bell even more now that this news has broke, claiming that "as long as there is not cat meat mixed in, a couple oats and some sand are not going to hurt me."
There's something about being honest and taking accountability in order to make things better. It's often referred to as brand transparency and can do wonders to gain trust, respect and brand loyalty with consumers. Case and point: Domino's alone had a 14% increase in 1st quarter sales, due in part to their advertising campaign. In an economy where trust is hard to come by, it's a breath of fresh air to have all the facts up front. If consumers find that a brand is continuously transparent and doing "the right thing," they will become repeat customers, and word of mouth marketing will be the primary source of communication. And what company doesn't want free word of mouth marketing? So, Taco Bell, props to you for taking the high road, and making your beef transparent.