Taco Bell, the Mexican/American fast food chain, recently got itself into a spot of PR bother. A customer took offence to the amount of beef contained in her beloved Taco and so offended was she that she took a class action suit against Taco Bell – as you do.
The law hired firm came out blazing and claimed that the mixture was only a paltry 35% beef, the rest was “other ingredients”.
The people at Taco Bell (I’m at pains not to use the initials of “TB” as I think they have suffered enough in the publicity department) were not impressed and responded that it was in fact 85% beef. Jumping to the end of that particular story, the Law Firm are cowering under a bed somewhere as they as much admitted the 85% was incorrect and they got it wrong. Taco is considering counter suing. Taco defended their patch rigorously and took out full page ads asking (aka veiled threats) the law firm to publicly apologise.
But during the height of “beefgate” they decided to turn to social media and, more specifically, their loyal Facebook customers. They assumed ‘Loyal’ because 5.5m of these would be worriers had ‘liked’ Taco Bell on their individual pages. It was only natural to assume that these people would now lay down their lives and come to their aid in Taco’s hour of distress.
In order to curry favour with these folk, Taco offered them coupons for a free ‘Crunchy Taco’. As the retail price of each offer was $0.99 there was some $6m potential downside for Taco, if it all went to plan.
Amazingly, only 3% of the 5.5m fans liked the company (or offer) that much to redeem the coupon. Was there some misguided thinking that their Facebook fans would do their bidding and take up the offer? A “like” on Facebook, it transpires in this case and possibly many others, can be as sincere as a kiss from a hooker, and a $0.99C kiss at very best.
Or perhaps the idea of printing out a coupon and heading over to Taco Bell to redeem $0.99c worth of Beef really seemed like too much trouble. Granted 165,000 people thought it was a good idea. Or perhaps a mix of the above, Taco misjudged the loyalty of fans and the offer wasn’t enough.