A Deutsch ad for Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa was initially released in two versions, one of which found the brand receiving some criticism for perceived racial insensitivity. A tipster claims that the agency re-edited the offending footage, but a network mistakenly ran the initial version at least once … and from there it spread across social media.
The spot in question follows in the Reefer Madness-esque retro PSA parody style of other ads promoting the chain’s recent menu offerings. In the spot, the narrator throws a Taco Bell wrapper toward a nearby trashcan. But in the offending version he misses the trashcan entirely and instead hits a nearby baby stroller, pushed by a black woman. One Twitter user responded, “Let’s talk about this racist ass Taco Bell commercial.”
Deutsch deferred to the client for comment. A Taco Bell representative wrote, “We had no intention of upsetting anyone with this ad and apologize to anyone who was offended. We immediately re-edited the commercial and removed the original version from the air.”
One YouTube video entitled “Racist Taco Bell commercial,” for example, takes issue with the offending moment and has received over 3,000 views.
Accusations of racism in Taco Bell’s advertising are not completely new, though many past complaints focused on a perceived insensitivity toward Hispanic Americans.
Here’s the full, initial edit of the ad, posted by someone who apparently finds it funny.
And here’s a 15-second version, promoting the Naked Chicken Chalupa Box, containing the CG-edited scene. It appears to be the only version up on the The Council for Eating Fried Chicken the Same Way You Always Have channel.
From here it seems like a minor difference, but some viewers very clearly were not amused.