Taco Bell Thinks Outside The Bun, Brand

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Subway’s Jared Fogle problem is not the only threat to the franchise’s healthy messaging. A competing fast food brand is also touting the health benefits of its products: Taco Bell. Seriously, we’re not kidding.

Taco Bell is asking consumers to “think outside the bun,” and it appears the brand is taking its own advice. Taco Bell’s “Drive-Thru Diet” appears to have been stolen straight out of Subway’s playbook. The campaign features “Christine’s Story,” a tale of a woman who made “different choices” on the Taco Bell menu and lost 64 pounds.[more]

The idea of Taco Bell as a destination for dieters is just crazy enough to work — if “work” means “turn a profit” to Taco Bell and “lose weight” to a select group of consumers. Unlike Subway, however, Taco Bell apparently does not have plans to expand this healthy message across the chain’s entire brand. Indeed, the brand with the Drive-Thru Diet menu is simultaneously running a “Fourthmeal” campaign, encouraging consumers to add a “melty, crunchy, spicy and grilled” fourth meal to their day.

The Drive-Thru Diet campaign is a shrewd move by Taco Bell that does not have much of a downside. Because the diet menu messaging is aimed at such a completely new and different demographic, there is little risk of contaminating the brand for existing customers, who must be asking themselves the same question: Is this campaign for real?

Only Taco Bell, and Christine Dougherty (dough, as in bun, ahem), know for sure.

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