Remember Jared Fogle, the man who slimmed down eating only Subway food? Now Taco Bell has its own weight-loss marketing weapon, “Christine,” who lost 54 lbs in 2 years by eating Taco Bell’s Fresco menu items. She is now featured as the star of the company’s Drive Thru Diet. ABC News reports:
Along with Christine, Taco Bell will move the Fresco option — swapping cheese and high-fat sauce for salsa — out to the drive-thru and package it in the Drive-Thru Diet menu. “When I decided to trim down, I knew I had to be realistic with myself,” Christine said in the ads. “I didn’t want to cut out my fast food, so I started choosing Fresco items from the Drive-Thru Diet menu. These results aren’t typical, but for me, they are fantastic.”
A host of caveats as long as some drug ads follow her story: Christine’s weight loss was “exceptional” according to the commercials, her taco bell trips were part of a larger effort to cut calories down to 1250 a day, and the Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet shouldn’t be considered a diet.
Right or wrong, diet and public health experts agree Taco Bell’s new campaign will likely seriously influence Americans who spend a great deal on fast food from their cars each year. Although the line of “Fresco” burritos and tacos has existed for six years, the upcoming weeks will be the first time the majority of Taco Bell customers will see the low fat options on the menu.
The counterintuitive and controversial pitch that fast food can be good for weight loss won Subway billions of dollars over its competitors in 2000. The before and after footage of Fogle, who lost 245 pounds in a year, boosted Subway’s per store sales growth to seven times the industry average in 2000 and nearly doubled their previous year’s sales, according to “Market Busters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth,” published by the Harvard Business School Press.
The Taco Bell campaign kicks off just in time for New Year’s, when Americans focus on losing the holiday fat. It’s smart marketing, and I bet it will yield good sales results.