Taco Bell’s New Chicken Cantina Menu Fail

What you see may NOT be what you get.

| Tait Nelson


As an avid NBA fan and former college basketball player, I always look forward to the NBA Finals. Because it is a matchup between two of the best teams in the league, the games should be some of the most entertaining of the year.

But despite my high expectations, I often find myself feeling bored during the nearly three hours that each game takes to finish. It has nothing to do with the quality of the games themselves. Rather, it’s the commercials between the action, which seem to take up more time than the actual games. What’s worse is that the majority of commercials are for products I don’t care about.

One commercial that did catch my attention this year, though, was for the new Chicken Cantina Menu at Taco Bell. As a recent college graduate, I have fond memories of Taco Bell as a late-night fast-food destination. And although the food was far from high-quality grub, it fit my budget and satisfied my cravings.

This new campaign that aired during the NBA Finals seemed to specifically target people like me, as the new menu was branded as “not just late night.” And the items looked nothing like the food that I remembered – the Cantina Chicken Burrito, for example, appeared to be teeming with fresh vegetables.

Although I know fast-food places are notorious for misrepresenting their food, I’m embarrassed to admit that this commercial had me craving Taco Bell well before midnight. Maybe if the chain was truly using higher-quality ingredients, it would be worth giving it a try.

So does the new Chicken Cantina Menu really live up to the hype of its advertisements? I compared the pictures from Taco Bell’s ad to the actual products to find out.

Here’s how the Chicken Cantina Burrito was represented in the commercial:

Looks pretty good, right? It appears to even have some fresh vegetables in there! The commercial asks, “See that purple cabbage?” In the ad, yes, but I didn’t see any in real life:

Does the Cantina Crispy Taco fare any better? Here’s how it looked in the ad:

Mmm, light and crispy. The actual taco? Not nearly as appetizing:

Based on this experience, it seems like my expectations will have to remain low when ordering from Taco Bell.

Although I’m disappointed, it’s quite unsurprising to learn that a fast-food chain has once again failed to live up to the promise of its ads. Readers can find a long history of documenting similar cases of deceptive advertising by other well-known restaurants in this industry, including Arby’s, KFC and McDonald’s.

Tait Nelson

Legal Project Associate

Tait became interested in deceptive advertising in college through his research on pyramid schemes. He believes that easy access to accurate information about companies and their products is the best way to create a fair economy.

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