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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.