The Barometer of a Society’s Virtue
The commercial works as follows: America’s moral – and thus financial – integrity, stability, and potential are at all-time lows, Americans (inexorably) are constantly aware of it, but only emotionally. They’re plagued by fear (because they can’t understand why, nor how to fix it), as well as by guilt (because they vaguely grasp that they’re partially responsible for it). They don’t like this feeling, so anything which (temporarily) alleviates it will be valued more than it otherwise would be. This commercial allows for the following rationalization: “Things are not that bad, so therefore my fears are – somehow – unfounded. That is the kind of thing I would see going on around me if things were truly as bad as I constantly feel like they are.” Taco Bell knows that because this is only a rationalization – that things are tantamount to as bad as this – that such precious heirlooms are being compromised, albeit not with such willful blatancy) – people will inevitably have their fear and their guilt return. When they do, Taco Bell hopes that such people will remember the feeling produced when first seeing this commercial (in order to make the uncomfortable feelings go away yet again), remember that they’re hungry, or need to pick food up for the family, or whatever and then decide to visit Taco Bell.
If Taco Bell – a company that is quite literally a luxury of an economy with a strong capitalist foundation – suffers or even disappears as a result of the very things they’re trying to get people to evade (so that they can capitalize in the short-term), they will have deserved their fate.