Christine Dougherty, Come On Down

Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet is a seven-item “fresco-style” menu that has a new Jared-like spokesperson named Christine Dougherty.
Dougherty is a “real-life Taco Bell customer” who lost 54 pounds over a two-year period by replacing her usual fast-food lunch or dinner with an item from Taco Bell’s Fresco menu.
Taco Bell’s agency, DraftFCB in Irvine, Calif. wrapped Dougherty’s story in an informercial framework, a fact which has led some to question whether the campaign is some kind of post-modern joke. It’s not.

Ad Age notes that there’s been something of a bloglash against the campaign, but that it’s for real.

Taco Bell is serious about the program, and has brought a registered dietician from the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers on board to lend credibility to the effort. “The reality is most Americans are on-the-go and will eat foods purchased through a drive-thru an average of 10 times a month,” said Ruth Carey, the Blazers’ nutritionist, whose role in the push is to offer consumers tips for healthier choices while eating at quick-service restaurants.

10 trips a month to the drive-thru? Wow. I must not be an American on-the-go.
At any rate, Tampa Tribune reports that as a buzz-generating tactic, the campaign may be working. Counter to Nielsen’s findings of a negative tilt, Taco Bell is attracting significantly positive buzz among a key demographic group, 18- to 34-year-olds.
It’s clearly wishful thinking that eating at Taco Bell leads to weight loss; however, wishful thinking isn’t exactly a new or particularly hideous development in Adlandia.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.