Two Taco Bell commercials have aired recently which beg the question: “Just what is the underlying message here? What is being said? What isn’t being said?”
Taco bell “web of fries”
So the first commercial is a little bit older (by my recollection, it came out around november, maybe december 2017), and it features an illuminati-esque ‘burger conspiracy’ where a man (played by Josh Dumel, one of the stars of the ‘Tranformers’ series) runs around joking about how ‘they’: ‘the burger people’, some sort of evil big-brother shadow conspiracy who controls the fast food market (of all things) and the rest of the commercial is basically the protagonist fighting a shadow war against ‘the burger people’. So what are we to make of this commercial? Taco Bell is a business, and advertisements aren’t just created to simply exist out there in the ether: advertisements are designed for specific groups of people in mind (Maheshwari 1).
There’s an investigation by the FBI and Democrats of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, there’s already a lot of talk of the Trump campaign colluding with Vladimir Putin through a backchannel of Russian oligarchs leading to Vladimir Putin (Corn 3). Let’s also be clear: It’s a proven fact that Russia meddled with the 2016 US presidential election: the only thing that hasn’t been proven yet is how Donald Trump is connected. Given Hillary Clinton’s hostile relationship with Vladimir Putin, and Putin’s disdain for Hillary Clinton, It’s highly unlikely that when Russia meddled with the election in any way other than to support Donald Trump’s victory (Corn 2). America is the most divided it’s been since the civil war (Gershon 3). But advertisements are designed for specific segments of the population, so these Taco Bell ads aren’t just designed for nobody in particular, no: every ad is designed for a specific market in mind (Maheshwari 3).
Taco Bell is a company. Companies exist to make a profit, and the ‘Millennial’ market is hot as fuck, especially when it comes to restaurants and eating out (Rapier 1). Of the four living generations: Millennials, Gen x, Baby Boomers, and ‘the greatest generation’ (the generation who fought WWII, and yes, I know I’m leaving out Gen z, because the oldest of them are only just now turning 18), Millenials spend the most of their income on eating out at restaurants, and companies are so invested in the Millennial market simply for the fact that there are more of them than any other generation, with the second demographically largest generation being baby boomers who are mostly retiring, or getting older which means they don’t have any money to throw around on quesadiarrhetos and Barfha-blast (Fry 1).
The Alt-right is misogynistic and racist in nature, and while you’d think that would mean women recognize the movement for what it is, and decry it, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. I’m not going to sit here and try to prove the alt-right isn’t racist and it isn’t misogynistic (and large parts of the ‘men’s rights’ movement) (Hemmer 2). The alt-right wasn’t always racist, but it was hijacked by white nationalists (racists) and is still under the control of this neo-nazi faction (Lozada 7). The men’s rights movement wasn’t always sexist, and it also wasn’t always associated with the alt-right neo-nazis, but it currently is, and will most likely continue to be associated with the alt-right. You’d think that women would see the misogyny in the alt-right and run the other way, but in fact, many women support alt-right ideology.
This brings me to the second Taco Bell ad:
A woman who’s well dressed in a professional outfit (an outfit which could be worn to an office job, which is a sign of women’s rising status in the professional world) is eating the $5 box. The ad talks about the contents of the box, and how she’s enjoying the food, and it says “it has all her favorites. Coincidentally, it has all of Brad’s favorites too: The guy who bought it.” Notice that brad is wearing casual clothes: A tshirt with a unbuttoned collared shirt over it, cotton pants, and sneakers. ‘Brad’ is black so that does diversify the audience, but Taco Bell is just trading racism for sexism, which is OK in their eyes (or more specifically: their target audience’s eyes) because yeah, nonwhites are the problem, but women are just as much of a problem, if not moreso. That’s because according to 2016 US Census data 76.9% of the population is white, while 13.3% is black, but more importantly for the target audience in this instance, 50.8 percent of the population is female (this is in line with a common global statistic among humans, usually 51% of the population is always female) (Census 1).
So the evidence in my mind is clear, but I know that living in 2018 means that just about anybody can say anything with as much validity as anyone else, but from what I’m seeing in these ads I think it’s obvious that Taco Bell has found their niche market and they’re sending out the kind of racist, sexist advertising that only the alt-right is really in tune with. Call me crazy, call me naive, call me a pinko-commie-lefty-libtard-cuck: just don’t call me late to dinner (unless it’s Taco Bell).
Bowman, Emma. “The Women Behind The ‘Alt-Right’.” NPR.Org, National Public Radio, 20 Aug. 2017, https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544134546/the-women-behind-the-alt-right.
Corn, David. “Robert Mueller Releases Information Showing Trump Campaign Tried to Collude With Russia.” MotherJones.com, Mother Jones.com and the Foundation for National Progress, 30 Oct. 2017, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/robert-mueller-releases-information-showing-trump-campaign-tried-to-collude-with-russia/.
Fry, Richard. “Millenials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation.” Pewresearch.org, 1 Mar. 2018, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/.
Gershon, Livia. “Just How Divided Are Americans Since Trump’s Election?” History.com, A+E Networks, 8 Nov. 2017, http://www.history.com/news/just-how-divided-are-americans-since-trumps-election.
Hemmer, Nicole. “The Women Fighting for White Male Supremacy.” Vox.com, Vox Media, Inc., 18 Sept. 2017, https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/9/18/16323686/women-alt-right-power-subservience-paradox-klan.
Lozada, Carlos. “Where the alt-right wants to take America — with or without Trump.” WashingtonPost.com, The Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/11/03/where-the-alt-right-wants-to-take-america-with-or-without-trump/?utm_term=.34d4cc5d77d5.
Maheshwari, Sapna. “Different Ads, Different Ethnicities, Same Car.” NYTimes.com, The New York Times Company, 12 Oct. 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/12/business/media/toyota-camry-ads-different-ethnicities.html.
Muhammad, Khalil Gibram. “How the Alt-Right Uses Social Science to Make Racism Respectable.” TheNation.com, Katrina vanden Heuvel, 15 Jan. 2018, https://www.thenation.com/article/how-the-alt-right-uses-social-science-to-make-racism-respectable/.
Rapier, Graham. “This chart reveals a huge difference in how millennials and their parents spend money.” BusinessInsider.com, Business Insider Inc., 19 Jul. 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-consumer-spending-twice-as-much-at-restaurants-than-previous-generations-2017-7
“QuickFacts: United States.” Census.gov, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1 July 2016, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045216.