CliqueClack Food
Seasonal Columns Cuisine Vegetarian

In Memoriam – The Taco Bell dog


Gidget_tacobell_dogWhat a summer! There probably hasn’t been a time in recent memory that we’ve lost so many A-list personalities within a short period of time. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Walter Cronkite — all passing away within a few weeks of each other. As all of the attention was focused on these personalities, there were bound to be other deaths that passed with nearly a mention.

Such as the passing of a Chihuahua named Gidget, who died from a stroke at age 15. Now, while most of you probably don’t know Gidget by her real name, you would probably know her by another description: the Taco Bell dog. Yes, Gidget was the tiny canine that uttered those four famous words “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!”

Voiced in the ads by male actor Carlos Alazraqui, The Taco Bell dog became one of the most famous Chihuahuai of the 1990s. The first ad aired on the East Coast of the U.S. in 1997 with a dog named Dinky. However, it was Gidget, Dinky’s replacement, who reaped the the immediate success.

And “immediate” is not an exaggeration when it came to this ad campaign. After its initial airing, popularity soared and  it was off to the races for Gidget. Soon enough there were T-shirts, posters, and toy figures of the little dog. Most importantly, the phrase became embedded into pop culture history as, “Yo quiero (something or other)” was used by every single person in the United States and abroad.

Of course, this wasn’t enough for the advertising geniuses who started the campaign. In due time, Gidget was given two additional phrases: “Drop the Chalupa!” and “Viva Gorditas!” The second phrase was used in connection with the release of 1998’s Godzilla remake and eventually led to Gidget uttering a full sentence in English during an ad featuring the giant lizard.


Unfortunately, the success of this campaign, which outweighed the extremely popular tainted scallions campaign of 2006, was fraught with troubles. No sooner had the first “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” been uttered did the advertising campaign meet with protests from Latin American advocacy groups who accused Gidget of being a fairly blatant stereotype of Hispanics. It was the pressure of these groups, combined with surprisingly low sales revenue, that led to the end of the Taco Bell campaign in 2000. Three years later, the fast food restaurant lost a multi-million dollar lawsuit to two Michigan men who said that the Taco Bell dog concept was one they pitched to the company six years prior.

So, ladies and gentleman, please raise your Cheese Roll-Ups in a salute to Gidget, and her stand-ins, who gave us one of the more memorable fast food campaigns in the last few years. She will be missed. Until, of course, Burger King’s Herb takes a turn for the worst.


Photo Credit: YUM Industries

Comments are closed.

Powered By OneLink