“The ‘Fourthmeal’ Campaign Is Not Encouraging People to Eat a Literal Fourth Meal”

by Scott Baradell | PR and Pop Culture

“The ‘Fourthmeal’ Campaign Is Not Encouraging People to Eat a Literal Fourth Meal”


From KLTV-TV in Tyler, TX:

Ask people to name the three meals in a day, and they can do it without any problem. But ask them about the ‘fourthmeal’, and very few of them know what you’re talking about.

Signs are popping up on Taco Bells across the country advertising late night hours where Americans can pop in for a ‘Fourthmeal,’ a meal the company says comes between dinner and breakfast. They hope it will eventually be as popular as brunch.

Health care workers we spoke with were alarmed by Taco Bells ‘Fourthmeal’ campaign. They say with one-half of adult Americans overweight, and one-third of children overweight, the last thing Americans need is a ‘Fourthmeal.’

Rob Poetsch is the Director of Public Relations for Taco Bell.

He says the ‘Fourthmeal’ campaign is simply a way to stand out in the sea of other late night fast food options.

“The ‘Fourthmeal’ campaign is not encouraging people to eat a literal fourth meal. It is actually branding a meal that people are already eating,” says Poetsch.

Did someone actually come up with that line as a talking point?

Our guess is the ad folks cooked up the “Fourthmeal” brilliance and then simply dropped it in the PR folks’ lap — much like a hand grenade.

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4 thoughts on ““The ‘Fourthmeal’ Campaign Is Not Encouraging People to Eat a Literal Fourth Meal”

  1. Ike

    Playing Devil’s Advocate here…

    I’ve seen diet plans in those Fitness mags the wife drags in where they call for six micro-meals — so I’m not so sure this campaign is a sure-fire dud just yet. The real target audience is outside the mainstream and a little rebellious anyway.

    I know many people who work overnight shifts and late shifts that would welcome actual “meal” status bestowed upon their dinner.

    That said — Poetsch’s statement reeks of too much practice.

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  2. Owen Lystrup

    Good point, Ike.

    The campaign does speak to the fast food industry and how out-of-touch it has been lately. It’s catching on a little more to how the importance nutrition is becoming and what a negative role fast food plays in that.

    But then you have companies like Burger King, which I wrote about recently. While most other companies are looking for healthy alternatives, Burger King is finding a way to stack more meat and fat into a burger.

    I’m guessing this must be for a reason. So as Taco Bell appeals to a just-outside-of-center market, Burger King must’ve found its market is a majority of men. Or, perhaps, that is where it wants to go. But is it alright to push fat-saturated burgers when obesity is such a pervasive problem?

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  3. virgomusic

    Ike — It’s true that many diet plans advocate 6 micro meals a day, but I really don’t think the fatty, salty crap that Taco Bell serves would fit into any of these plans.

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