In the televised version of Taco Bell’s new campaign, which focuses on the fast-food chain’s breakfast menu, the former Saturday Night Live cast member speaks from a dream to “tell you about the most amazing breakfast you could ever dream of, according to [him]”.
In the ad, Davidson then promises that, at Taco Bell, customers can find a “tasty, simple breakfast, like the Breakfast Crunchwrap,” before waking up in one of the restaurants and ordering a “breakfast crunch thing”.
The second part of the campaign, titled “The Apology,” is equally light-hearted, with Davidson claiming that, “sometimes, we go too far,” which is why Taco Bell “hired [him] to make an apology for them”.
According to Davidson’s mock apology, the issue was Taco Bell’s over-the-top breakfast menu, with the ad showing him suggesting the chain make a Breakfast Crunchwrap instead, at which point a Taco Bell employee informs him that that is indeed a menu item. The mostly innocuous clip concludes with Davidson claiming that he “didn’t read the script” for the campaign.
However, in an ad that appears to be created specifically for Reddit, it features an even more informal Davidson, who shares his review of the “breakfast crunch thing” while eating it.
“Here is my review of the breakfast crunch thing from Taco Bell,” Davidson, who is dressed casually in a grey hoodie, begins, before taking a large bite from the menu item. As he chews, he adds: “Crunchy. Fluffy eggs. Crispy hash browns. This may be the best thing for breakfast I’ve ever eaten.”
Unfortunately for the fast-food chain, the ad has been met with mostly negative reviews on Reddit, where some users have shared their disgust at having to see Davidson chew and speak, while others have criticised the number of times they’ve seen the ad.
— Birdie (@derMauersegler) October 10, 2022
The backlash began in the Reddit subreddit r/LivingMas, according to Gizmodo, which reports that the discourse started with Reddit user rain6304, who condemned the ad as “absolutely repulsive”.
“I’m a super hardcore [Taco Bell] 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,” the Reddit user wrote. “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?”
The post was met with comments from users agreeing with the take, with one person revealing that they too think it’s a “gross ad”. “YES, thank you for making this post, it’s a gross ad. I don’t like it,” they wrote.
The distaste of the ad also circulated in other Reddit subreddits, where another user wrote of the video featuring Davidson: “Yeah I don’t know why exactly, but it’s weirdly unsettling and low-key nauseating.”
“I hate the new Taco Bell ad where you see Pete Davidson eating. Anyone who talks with their mouth full should be ashamed of themselves, and the fact that Pete Davidson willingly did it on camera makes it even worse,” someone else claimed in the r/TacoBell subreddit.
Countless other Reddit posts were dedicated to annoyance over what many claimed was a constant presence of the ad on the social media platform.
“Reddit - enough with the Pete Davidson Taco Bell ads,” one user wrote. “Seriously, I’ve seen it 50 times today. Learn how to serve ads.”
In response, another user said: “Agreed lol. Every five posts I see his face,” while someone else said: “Seriously, I can’t scroll in peace without his face popping up every five seconds.”
“I’m not going to eat Taco Bell for a long time solely because of this,” one user claimed. “It’s so annoying and I can’t stand him.”
The frequency in which users reported seeing the ad prompted many to suggest ways to block the ad, with some users claiming that it could be hidden by blocking u/RealTacoBell.
According to other users, the hack only worked if you first reported Taco Bell’s Reddit account for spam, while someone else admitted that they reported the account for “harassment of others”. In response to the admission, one user wrote: “I mean, you didn’t lie. It harassed all of Reddit. Which is quite an accomplishment.”
The Independent has contacted Taco Bell for comment.