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Pete Davidson’s Taco Bell ad draws criticism online: ‘Makes me want to not eat there’

TODAY 10/18/2022 Joseph Lamour

In a strange twist of fate, people are demanding an apology for a fast food campaign meant to serve as an “apology” itself.  

Oct. 3 saw the debut of a new ad partnership between popular comedian Pete Davidson and Mexican-inspired fast food chain Taco Bell.

Weeks before in September, Taco Bell announced that it would be going on an apology tour of sorts when it announced it had hired Davidson as their official “Brand Apologist.” This role saw the “Saturday Night Live” alum asking for forgiveness for some of the stranger items the chain has come up with over the years like 2017’s Naked Egg Taco and 2014’s Waffle Taco.

“Sometimes we go too far. I have — and that’s why Taco Bell has hired me to make an apology for them,” said Pete Davidson in one advertisement that has since appeared online and on television as well. 

Davidson also appears in a second ad about his dream Taco Bell breakfast order that includes, as he says, “a breakfast crunch-thing” in his trademark aloof delivery. Davidson also has been appearing elsewhere on Taco Bell’s social channels — including on TikTok.

But all is not happy in Taco Town, it appears, as several folks around the internet have taken to the comments sections to air their grievances with the ad campaign. This backlash is especially pungent on Reddit, where there are several subreddits that have published posts decrying the ad push, including separate posts in  r/mildlyinfuriating, r/ask, r/TrueOffMyChest, r/YouShouldKnow and elsewhere. 

Many of the posts speak up on their distaste for the campaign, venting about the frequency of the campaign, and even suggesting to others, how to avoid the campaign altogether.

Another subreddit, r/LivingMas, is the self-professed “largest online Taco Bell community ran by the fans, for fans and consumers alike” and even it published a post about the campaign.

The post, called “Taco Bell Kindly Take Away The Pete Davidson Ad,” conveys the impression that even megafans of the chain have taken issue with the ads and videos spread across the internet. 

“I’m a super hardcore TB fan (which is why I’m here lol) but even then the Pete Davidson ad with him talking with his mouth full is absolutely repulsive and makes me want to not eat there,” said Reddit user u/rain6304, who authored the post. “I’m not sure what some women see in him but he is so gross to me personally…. Definitely not a selling point for any product. Anyone else feel the same?”

Quite a few Taco Bell stans took to the comments to volley their objections to the ads, which mostly take issue with the roll out and not Davidson himself like the original poster.

For Davidson’s part, most of the comments didn’t take issue with him, exactly, but instead took issue with what some are saying is the frequency that the ad has been served to them on Reddit and beyond.

“I outright blocked /u/RealTacoBell just so I wouldn’t see the ad every time I opened the app,” said one user on Reddit.

“I’m so freaking sick of it,” said one commenter on Reddit, adding that they care less about him and more about the frequency of the commercial. “Like idc about him but just seeing the ad so many times makes me hate him when I have no thoughts or care about him in the first place.”

“I had to block Taco Bell,” said another Reddit user. ”Those ads were so annoying that I stopped opening Reddit as frequently as I typically do.”

“Taco Bell ads woke me up at midnight tonight, so I defiantly don’t want them any time soon,” said one commenter on Reddit, explaining that they have a YouTube playlist made for falling asleep.with gentle sounds and soothing tunes that play on dark backgrounds at bedtime.

“Right in the middle of one of them, a bright Taco Bell ad that was a million times louder came on, jerking me out of my sleep. Couldn’t fall back asleep after that. Thanks (a lot,) Taco Bell.”

Still, there were some folks in the comments that showed their support for Davidson and the Bell — although some of the compliments could definitely also be taken as jabs.

“Why everybody hating on this commercial?” said one YouTube commenter. “I think it’s funny and well done.”

“Pete Davidson is the personification of a dollar menu. Great casting,” said another YouTube commenter. 

“I guess this makes sense since Taco Bell is the Pete Davidson of Mexican food,” said another YouTube commenter in quite the backhanded compliment.

“Pete Davidson becoming the face of Taco Bell is a little too perfect,” said another commenter on Twitter. 

We reached out to Taco Bell for comment on the reception to Davidson’s ad campaign and haven’t heard back yet.

Representatives for Davidson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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