Taco Bell Creates Cranky Old Coots for Breakfast Onslaught

Clueless Duo Doesn't Get 'One-Handed Breakfast'

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Advertising Age Player

Meet Harold and Lenny.

They're the stars of the third campaign in Taco Bell's massive breakfast effort, and like the man in the spot before these, they're hopelessly out of touch on what the "next generation" of breakfast is like.

In one Harold and Lenny spot, "Slippery Slope," the old men, who are eating what appear to be Egg McMuffins, gripe about how the Waffle Taco is a "gateway breakfast" to loitering and -- gasp -- ponytails. In another promoting the A.M. Crunchwrap, the pair is flummoxed by the signature Taco Bell breakfast product, a "one-handed breakfast." The product keeps one hand free so they "can do that Tweeter thing they do," says one geriatric. The ads were created by Deutsch.

Advertising Age Player
Advertising Age Player

"From fans to employees to a variety of third party studies, we couldn't be more thrilled to hear from others how successful the Taco Bell Breakfast launch has been," stated Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer, Taco Bell, in a statement. "Our new TV campaign pays homage to the ways of our core millennial consumers -- with fun generational color commentary -- and it shows how people can break their boring breakfast routine, no matter what age they are."

Taco Bell launched breakfast on March 27 with a massive marketing campaign that featured real life Ronald McDonalds, who proclaimed their love for Taco Bell breakfast. (That idea wasn't completely original -- Jack in the Box did a similar campaign back in 2002.) McDonald's has responded with a couple of social media images alluding to Taco Bell, a two-week free coffee promotion and a round of ads that promote the McGriddles, but the Golden arches hasn't executed any major direct offensive mentioning Taco Bell.

In the second installment of breakfast TV spots -- the one that preceded this latest one -- which features an Egg McMuffin-loving man stuck in the 80s, Taco Bell cast McDonald's and its signature breakfast item as a relic from the past. Taco Bell breakfast, according to that spot, was the future -- the "next generation" of breakfast.

In the spot with the 80s man, Taco Bell called out McDonald's and the Egg McMuffin directly. In the Harold and Lenny spots, there's no actual reference to either -- just the implication that old, out of touch people eat McMuffins, and that the crazy young people, with their raves and their twerking, eat Taco Bell breakfast.

Taco Bell isn't giving much detail on how long this duo is expected to appear in ads beyond the three in this campaign. "Anything is possible," said a spokeswoman. If people respond to these cranky old coots, we're likely to see more of Harold and Lenny.

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