Oppression in the form of a breakfast sandwhich

While Taco Bell’s new advert to poach McDonalds customers is interesting, it could backfire.

Jared Rogers-Martin

Wake up, America: McDonald’s might soon issue a state of emergency and regulate your breakfast habits. At least, that’s what a new Taco Bell ad suggests is going to happen.

In Taco Bell’s new advertisement, “Routine Republic,” loudspeakers blast Orwellian messages that “Happiness is eating the same breakfast,” while dreary, destitute urchins are ushered through long lines to receive paltry rations of a hegemonic egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich.

The ominous communist greys and broad-shouldered guards wearing Ronald McDonald-esque clown makeup suggest that the threat of cramming an English muffin down your feeble gullet is real. So, to the music of the Ramones, two young millennials defect from this tyranny and flee to the green pastures of Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu.

The ad is stunning, and I wouldn’t mind watching television commercials if they all adhered to the creative standard set by Taco Bell’s new commercial, but creativity does not necessarily translate into consumer behavior.

Taco Bell’s commercial tries to persuade potential customers to check out its new breakfast menu but does so by ostracizing the people who enjoy McDonald’s by portraying them as boring and dull.

These people happen to be the very customers that make up the fast food breakfast market. Consumer research shows that when a person resists a persuasion attempt, the advertisement’s message can backfire by reinforcing a consumer’s existing attitude about a product. In this light, Taco Bell’s dystopian narrative heralds no coming revolution except a wasted advertising budget.