Sunday, October 17, 2010
TBG Eats: The NEW XXL Chalupa from Taco Bell
Current Weight: 171.4 lbs.
In conjunction with the start of Major League Baseball's postseason, Taco Bell introduced a new ad campaign for their XXL Chalupa. Most of you have probably seen the spot featuring New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and closer Mariano Rivera:
As with everything else in the internet age, America couldn't wait to share its collective opinion of this commercial with the world. My unsophisticated five-minute web search has determined that you guys think (1) Rivera is a terrible actor and (2) the staid Yankees tradition was somehow "above" shilling for cheap eats.
Of course, the second point couldn't be more preposterous. As for the Panama-born Rivera, it seems a little silly to criticize the stiffly-delivered English of someone who doesn't use it as his primary language.
Since my marketing degree from San Diego State University is valid for a few more weeks, I'll offer that – by the admittedly low-standard of celebrity advertisements – Taco Bell's is reasonably effective. The celebrity should never overshadow the product. Fortunately, the casual recognition gap between shortstop Derek Jeter and the rest of the team's current roster is undeniably wide. By my unofficial stopwatch, Girardi and Rivera are onscreen for less than half of the 30-second runtime.
The commercial hits its target audience (men) and gently twists our inherent competitive dials by implying weakness if you can't finish a XXL Chalupa.
"But, I'd NEVER eat at Taco Bell", you rudely respond. And, since this is ostensibly a super-size version of a long-established menu item, you're NOT in the target audience, I'd politely retort.
For those of you who aren't sold on my half-ass advertisement analysis, let's be honest: this isn't anywhere NEAR the worst Taco Bell commercials featuring professional athletes.
Not long after Shaquille O'Neal signed a multi-million dollar free agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers – and a few months before unleashing Steel on an unsuspecting public – he teamed with Taco Bell for the infamous "Taco Neck" ad campaign:
More recently, everyone's favorite unfunny, quasi-controversial, Teflon NBA talking head dropped this abominable spot during last year's Super Bowl:
In both cases, there's too much celebrity, while the products are an afterthought.
Now, before y'all can say the same about this review, let's get into it. From Taco Bell's website:
An XXL-sized crispy Chalupa shell packed with seasoned ground beef, crispy lettuce, fiesta salsa, a blend of three cheeses–cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella–and nacho cheese sauce, red strips and topped with reduced-fat sour cream.
After opening the enormous box, the first thing I noticed was the Chalupa shell, itself. It curves upward at the ends which make the XXL Chalupa look like a chewy refugee boat. It also leads to a challenging first bite, as deep-fried crispiness fills your mouth well before the filling can find its way in.
Beyond that, if you've ever indulged with multiple Chalupas in a single sitting, then you won't be overly surprised by the size here. The ground beef and nacho cheese sauce is the same as it always was – solid enough, if overly familiar. The shredded cheeses and fiesta salsa make for a decent blend of tastes and textures with the greasy pillow enveloping the ingredients within.
The notion that it's too big is a bit of a fallacy, though. I ordered one along with a platter of Volcano Nachos and – in a fit of TBGluttony – crushed them both. That's gotta be the equivalent of a 10-inning complete game, Girardi.
You know the Yankees haven't had an emaciated innings-eater like me in their rotation for 20 years.
Grade: 4 (out of 5) Calories: 650 Fat: 39g