Taco Bell must pay for Chihuahua idea

Wichita Eagle

The wise-cracking Chihuahua who earned millions for Taco Bell Corp. --and some criticism from Hispanics as an ethnic stereotype -- has a new slogan:
"Yo quiero mi dinero!" --I want my money!

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that Taco Bell is liable for $42 million in breach-of-contract awards to two Michigan men who created the diminutive mascot that starred in the Irvine, Calif., fast-food giant's $500 million advertising campaign in the 1990s.

TV commercials featured the dog decked out as a beret-sporting revolutionary or bandit in sombrero, stirring some controversy as a derogatory depiction of Mexicans. But the spots featuring the Chihuahua and voice-over artist Carlos Alazraqui were phenomenally successful.
The talking dog's refrain "Yo quiero Taco Bell" became a pop-culture punch line, as well as "Drop the chalupa!" --an instant favorite with sports commentators -- and "Viva Gorditas!" (long live the little fat ones, the name of one of the food chain's tacos).

The ads stopped running in 2000, freeing the dog, named Gidget, for further fame, with roles in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" and Geico insurance ads.


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