In late January, a federal court within the Central District of California, filed a lawsuit against Taco bell for not having real "beef" in their beef tacos. This suit angered a lot of people, especially Taco bell. For some time now, Taco Bell has worked to fix their image. Instead of this becoming a public relations crisis, it actually has worked to their advantage. Taco Bell made an incredibly smart move and, while sending out press releases and counter-attack ads in newspapers, they used social media to reach their most loyal customers.
Taco Bell offered a free "beef" taco to anyone who liked their Facebook page. They reported having over 250,000 "likes" to their page in just one week. Taco Bell is commited to giving away 10 million tacos but they have not released an actual figure of how many coupons have been given away. Even so, Facebook is helping them to see how people are reacting to the lawsuit.
This lawsuit could have turned out extremely bad for Taco Bell. These days, everyone is all about going "green" and buying only organic or grass-fed meats. To find out that the meat used in your favorite taco, isn't meat at all, could have been devastating. Luckily, Taco Bell is taking the correct steps to fixing the problem. In the PR world, responding fast is extremely important, but knowing who to reach out to first is even more important.
Contacting their loyal customers, through social media, is one way to fix the problem. People in my classes said they would still eat their tacos, with our without real "beef", because they were so good. They are examples of loyal customers to Taco Bell.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the countersuit that Taco Bell filed against the California group. It seems like the Taco Bell incident is slowly dying down. I thought this was a great example of how PR practitioners can find ways to fix crisis situations and one way they can do it, through social media.