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Taco Bell is involved in a food fight over the proportion of beef in its taco meat.

Keith Bedford/Reuters/Keith Bedford/Reuters

It's not quite Egypt or Tunisia, but a revolt seems to be growing in the ad world. Perhaps fed up by clients who became addicted to getting lots of work for too little money during the recession, major agencies including the worldwide operations of DDB, TBWA, Deutsch, and Leo Burnett have all decided to refrain from pitching Sears Roebuck & Co. after the U.S. retailer told them that any material used in a pitch would automatically be owned by Sears - whether the agencies won their business or not. When last we heard, the 4As (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) had joined the fray. We'd love to see how Al Jazeera would cover that one.

Actually, we'd love to see how Al Jazeera would cover the latest turn in the Taco Bell tussle. In late January, you may recall, the popular purveyor of fast-food Tex-Mex was hit with a class-action lawsuit that alleged the taco meat in its menu items was only 36-per-cent ground beef. The chain hit back a few days later with a countersuit, a print campaign claiming its meat was actually 88-per-cent beef, and a website that revealed its signature recipe. Now it's gone bigger, developing a whole TV campaign on the counterclaim that features real employees. At least we think they're real employees.

Maybe there's an app that could prove their legitimacy? If not, the ad agency Rethink could lend a hand if you want to develop it. This week, that agency's Toronto office rolled out an app designed to help other agencies pitch their iPhone or iPad app ideas to clients. The Realizer, as it is dubbed, allows creative and tech folks to upload mock screens of a finished app and then swipe from one screen to another, like a real app. Developed with the Toronto shop Nascent Digital, the app is available at the iTunes App Store - free. Which makes us think Sears would probably love it.

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Does Sears sell hair shirts? Because ours are stuck in winter storage, and we think we should wear one to greet Alex Bogusky, the ad world rock star who defected last summer to become a consumer advocate and critic of capitalism - that is, to become a critic of what he used to promote. He'll be in Toronto next week as the kickoff speaker at the MIXX Conference put on by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada. When we spoke with him on Thursday morning, he still wasn't exactly sure what he was going to say in his speech. But you can read our exclusive Canadian interview with him in Saturday's Focus section. (Ick: sorry, we just advertised ourselves. Anybody got a spare hair shirt we can borrow?)



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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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