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  • Candace Smith

A Word from Mr. Potato-head

It’s widely known that COVID-19 has significantly affected the food industry and fast food sales. With more people staying home, preparing meals and changing lifestyles to healthier diets has seriously increased.

Fast food chains took a huge hit to sales in 2020 due to the pandemic. Many businesses had to make serious changes, such as budget cuts, layoffs, new hires, and adjustments to products and supply. Taco Bell is one company that felt the effects significantly. Within the last year Taco Bell shrank their menu, removing many customer favorites and leaving them disappointed and wanting more. With the drastic menu changes Taco Bell decided to discontinue all use of potatoes in their menu. This was a huge blow to a lot of their vegetarian and vegan customers that enjoyed their potato products and the opportunity to use it in other menu items as meat substitutes.

Friday, January 14th, Taco Bell CEO Mark King took to Twitter to inform their millions of followers that starting March 11th, 2021 the potato favorites would be back on the menu and distribution of potatoes to Taco Bell’s around the nation would begin and to be patient. Though many found excitement in the announcement and looked forward to the old addition, the PSA had others talking. The food-chain CEO appeared in a video as an animated talking potato. As a consumer the video was easily skippable and kind of boring. As a person in the Advertising business it was extremely disappointing to see Taco Bell not use a better vehicle to deliver the news to their customers. The video was rushed and poorly executed. A national campaign with full marketing mix may not have been necessary, but an announcement that caused so much buzz in the beginning should get a little more than a couple tweets from a talking potato. Perhaps the pandemic tightened their spending and they suffered their taste, or maybe with the Super Bowl coming up they want to put their money into advertising down the line. Nobody knows, but please no more talking potatoes.

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