Taco Bell was recently accused in a lawsuit of using significant
amounts of filler in its taco meat.I really don’t have an opinion about that, but as a marketer
what I have to question is the report in the media that the company has turned the situation “into an unexpected social
media success”. The reporter supported that “success” claim by explaining that
“The chain has said it will give away up to 10 million beef tacos to people who "like" its Facebook page,
and has already issued free-taco coupons to 5.4 million fans".
I have to wander how far marketers have strayed from measures of accountability and ROI when
we are defining "success" as the ability to give away product for FREE to people who otherwise would be
considered most likely to have paid for it (their fans).
Success might be using social media to bring in new customers with some
discount or promotional offer.Success could be finding a way to give away free samples of a recently introduced
product to existing customers through social media outlets (rather than more expensive mass media).But
it’s very difficult for me, and will probably be even more difficult for the people who control future marketing budgets
to understand once they hear where the money went, to quantify how this is a “success”.