Fast food fans' love of Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza is undeniable. Sure, the chain played up the hype, but Taco Bell didn't need to falsify 100,000 signatures for on online petition or take over social media with bots to build grassroots interest in a Mexican Pizza musical.
But with the Mexican Pizza officially returning to Taco Bell menus today, we still must face an inconvenient truth: Is the Mexican Pizza really a pizza? Isn't it just a glorified tostada begging for crossover appeal by naming itself a "pizza?"
The folks at Pizza Hut — who, as their name implies, should know a thing or two about pizza — certainly seem to think that's the case. Though they didn't explicitly call out the Mexican Pizza for pizza appropriation, Pizza Hut has launched a campaign that's sure to raise some eyebrows.
The pizza chain has announced they've begun selling a "new" product called the "Italian Taco." Except — and here's when they take an implied jab at Taco Bell — the Italian Taco isn't new at all: Simply fold your slice of pizza down the middle (as many people already do when eating pizza) and, voila, you've created your own Italian Taco.
"Feast your eyes and mouths on a hand-tossed taco shell stuffed with a classic marinara sauce, mouthwatering melted mozzarella cheese and whichever fillings you choose from pepperoni to jalapenos," a Pizza Hut representative explained — even though, moments later, they admitted the whole thing is just "a slice of pizza folded like a taco."
And no, Pizza Hut is not done. Referencing the fact that Taco Bell sold out of Mexican Pizzas and had to take it off the menu the first time they brought it back earlier this year, Pizza Hut jokes, "The best part? This nearly unbelievable innovation will never run out. The Italian Taco has been here and will be here forever." Their tag line: "No one out pizzas the hut."
But though Pizza Hut makes a compelling argument, the whole campaign brings up a question of its own: Is the joke really on us, the consumers? Because both Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are both owned by the same parent company: Yum! Brands. So regardless of whether you're Team Mexican Pizza or Team Italian Taco, it's the shareholders who win.