Although consumers are complicit, marketers make it difficult to get accurate information about empty calories, trans fats and serving sizes. Earlier this week I went to Taco Bell's Web site and had an extremely difficult time getting past the diet messages to information about the nutritional composition of the food. Even once I found it, I was still confused about what it meant.
In spite of my objections to Taco Bell's campaign, I predict it will pay off for the chain. America is about freedom and choice, and a healthy lifestyle must be the choice of the individual.
But I also think that one of this country's growing problems is that we allow companies to overstep boundaries. From extreme reality TV to subprime mortgage lending to misleading marketing, it seems to be increasingly acceptable to push the envelope until it breaks and people get hurt.
I have a hard time believing that dieters belong at Taco Bell. If the local adult bookstore opened a children's section, would you let your child go there? If the corner liquor store served fresh squeezed juices and egg-white omelets, would it be a suitable place for an alcoholic?
Taco Bell's well-designed Web site and wonderfully edited TV spots seem to me more like a carefully constructed campaign than a faithful reflection of the chain's role in the American diet.
The work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.
Larry D. Woodard is president and CEO of Vigilante, a New York-based advertising agency that develops consumer-centric advertising campaigns. He is also chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies New York Council and the recipient of many prestigious industry awards, including two O'Toole Awards for Agency of the Year, the London International Award, Gold Effie, Telly, Mobius, Addy's and the Cannes Gold Lion. A blogger and a frequent public speaker, Woodard enjoys discussing the intersection of media, politics, entertainment and technology.