Taco Bell Tries to Stand Out From 'Meh' Muffins

Yum Chain's A.M. Crunchwrap Is Focus of New Breakfast Push

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New ads touting Taco Bell's breakfast offerings will air this week.
New ads touting Taco Bell's breakfast offerings will air this week. Credit: Taco Bell

Taco Bell is pitting its A.M. Crunchwrap against "meh" muffin sandwiches in its latest spots promoting breakfast.

Two new commercials, set to begin airing Wednesday, do not refer specifically to any single breakfast competitor by name, but a sandwich displayed in the spots bears a striking resemblance to a McDonald's Egg McMuffin.

"No matter what restaurant you look at, and you look at their egg muffin option, it always looks the same," said Stephanie Perdue, Taco Bell's chief product marketing officer. "There's so many options out there for breakfast but they're really all the same."

She said Taco Bell's breakfast menu stands out to a younger generation "looking for something different than their father's breakfast."

Taco Bell's breakfast business continues to grow following its March 2014 launch. Still, the chain wants to gain more awareness among diners who have been able to go to restaurants such as McDonald's for years, or who cook breakfast at home, and often have routines that are hard to break.

Taco Bell's latest ad references 'meh' muffins.
Taco Bell's latest ad references 'meh' muffins. Credit: Taco Bell

The A.M. Crunchwrap -- eggs, bacon or sausage, cheese and hash browns wrapped in a tortilla -- is Taco Bell's best seller during breakfast, with more than 85 million sold so far. The new 15-second commercial shows the preparation of a muffin sandwich side-by-side next to a Crunchwrap, touting its differences including "a million percent more hash browns inside."

In some ways, the renewed breakfast push from players such as McDonald's may actually be helping raise awareness for Taco Bell. CEO Brian Niccol told analysts at a Dec. 10 meeting that the quick-service restaurant category "advertising aggressively about breakfast" has been "a nice thing" for Taco Bell. He said his chain needs to do more with a value play during breakfast, something it plans to address. It also recently said it planned to fully switch to cage-free eggs in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

Deutsch LA is Taco Bell's lead agency. Spark, Digitas and Edelman also work on the chain's breakfast campaign.

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