Monday, June 25, 2012

Eating Disorder

Lately I've been seeing a lot of commercials from Taco Bell. They're pushing the idea of late night snacking via something called the FourthMeal.

I am intimately familiar with the FourthMeal. Not because I'm chowing down Chalupas just before bedtime, but because I came up with the idea.

Before you start questioning my creative credentials you need to know that I had nothing to do with the way FourthMeal is currently being executed. I suspect narrow-minded, skinny white guys fond of logo emblazoned polo shirts and crisp khaki pants had everything to do with that. (Those of you who have worked on the Taco Hell account know exactly what I'm talking about.)

I don't usually bag on past ideas that should have been bought.
Or could've been bought.
Or would've won a Gold Lion at Cannes.
That's an exercise in self-pity that leads to nowhere. A self-destructive path that starts with a few fingers of Maker's Mark and quickly descends to Costco-sized bottles of Early Times, polyester-blend clothing and a house made of cardboard.

The truth is, I could fill these pages a thousand times over talking about good work that never saw the light of day. Every copywriter and art director in the business, could.

But the other truth is, no one gives a shit.

That said, I'd like it noted for the record that my take on FourthMeal was decidedly different.

I wanted to treat the notion seriously, albeit with a tongue planted firmly in cheek. FourthMeal was going to be the brainchild of a noted faux nutrition doctor. With his own book, a talk show and a mountain of conjured up evidence detailing the benefits of late night grinding. The whole campaign was going to be written in a National Lampoon inspired style catering to 16-year old stoners.

You know, the Taco Bell target audience.

Besides feeling contrived, the current iteration of FourthMeal with the four menu items representing Crunchy, Spicy, Melty and Grilled, doesn't even make sense. It has no relationship to the Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner conceit.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. This is the same team of marketing genii who witnessed five years of wildly popular advertising, millions in increased sales and the emerging pop culture status of a little chihuahua and said, "No Yo Quierro."

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Here's what a glutton (see what I did there?) for punishment I am. I worked on Taco Bell three times at three different agencies. At least the last one was FCB in San Francisco, and I got to commute back and forth for nine months to a city I love. They never bought any good ideas then either. I got past it though. At least they sold enough 39 cent tacos to pay my day rate for that whole time.