Industry News | April 8, 2014

Taco Bell Takes Jab at McDonald's in Newest Ad

With its newest YouTube ad spot, Taco Bell is urging consumers to “move on from [their] old McDonald’s breakfast,” the spot’s narrator says. The “Get with the Times” commercial, which debuted Tuesday, April 8, is a follow up to a spot that premiered the day before the breakfast launch featuring various several paid endorsers by the name of Ronald McDonald.

“[McDonald’s has] had breakfast for a number of years, and one of the big things we want to offer consumers is the next generation of breakfast,” said Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt in a teleconference on Monday, April 7. “We thought [this ad] was a great way to call out that there is something else out there.”

Set to the tune of “Old McDonald had a Farm,” the new ad spot makes it clear what chain the Mexican-inspired brand is targeting—and quick-serve diners seem to be responding. According to a forthcoming report from consumer perception firm YouGov BrandIndex, McDonald's consumer perception has fallen behind Taco Bell in the past two months.

“We knew from an advertising standpoint we needed to be disruptive,” Brandt said. He added Taco Bell has seen success in media and on social, too. “It’s been an incredible ride for us so far on breakfast,” he said. “We’ve got more than a billion earned impressions on social, we’ve got more than five and a half billion earned media impressions, and just the YouTube spots we’ve put out there, we’ve got over three million views.”

At the core of the success, Brandt said, has been significant differentiation—the products that have done the best sales wise are those not available at other concepts, namely the AM Crunchwrap, Cinnabon Delights, and the Waffle Taco. “We are in a quiet period according to the FCC guidelines, so I can’t really share [sales,]” he said. “What I will tell you is we are very pleased with the consumer response, and we’re very optimistic about what’s happened with breakfast and what we’re going to do going forward.” Brandt added that coffee has also been more successful than company leaders expected.

“We believe all of the products we put out there have staying power,” he said in response to a question about the novelty appeal of Taco Bell’s products. Less than two weeks in to the launch of breakfast, Taco Bell’s executive team is already looking at ways to accelerate items currently in its innovation pipeline, Brandt said.

That isn’t to say Taco Bell will slow down innovation for other dayparts. “We view breakfast in addition to everything else we’re doing, not in place of,” Brandt said, adding that the next version of the brand’s game-changing Doritos Locos Taco will come out in early May.

By Tamara Omazic

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.