December 18, 2006
Taco Bell Runs Spanish-language Ads to Quell E. Coli Fears
Following the recent E. Coli outbreak that caused fast food chain Taco Bell to temporarily close 60 of its restaurants in the Northeastern U.S., the company is now taking out print ads in Hispanic newspapers to assure a wary public that its food is safe.
The chain has stepped up a public-relations offensive by buying ads in newspaper such as The New York Times, USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The ads spotlighted a letter from Taco Bell President Greg Creed outlining the steps taken by the company to assure the safety of its restaurants, headlined “Taco Bell food is safe.” Taco Bell is currently translating the safety ad into Spanish so it can get the word out to its Hispanic consumers, according to a person familiar with the matter. Taco Bell reportedly had plans to run the Spanish-language ads last week in the Los Angeles market, but pulled back at the last minute.
While originally attributing the outbreak to an infected batch of green onions, the company has rescinded that claim after laboratory tests of those onions came back negative for E. Coli. At present, the company believes that tainted lettuce was the culprit, but is eager to reassure the public that its food is safe, and it has re-opened its restaurants.
During the first 10 months of 2006, Taco Bell has invested $23,000 in ROP advertising in Hispanic newspapers this past year, according to Portada Ad-tracking. Most of Taco Bell's advertising is done through Free Standing Inserts.