Taco Bell chihuahua

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BreedDeerhead Chihuahua
(1994-02-08)February 8, 1994
United States
DiedJuly 21, 2009(2009-07-21) (aged 15)
Santa Clarita, California, United States

Gidget (February 8, 1994 – July 21, 2009), nicknamed the "Taco Bell Chihuahua", was an advertising figure and mascot for Taco Bell from September 1997 to July 2000. She was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui, and developed by TBWA. The Chihuahua is a breed commonly associated with Mexico.


In September 1997, Taco Bell used the dog in one advertisement in the Northeastern United States. The advertising campaign began during a peak in the Burger wars, in which several fast food chains were engaged in large advertising campaigns against each other. The dog was made to speak through special effects. Her advertising catchphrase was "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!" ("I want some Taco Bell!"). Her voiceover was provided by Carlos Alazraqui,[2] who says that the voice is a cross between Hungarian-born actor Peter Lorre (The Maltese Falcon) and Ren Höek, the cartoon chihuahua from The Ren & Stimpy Show (who in turn was also based on Lorre[3][4]), with a touch of Anthony Quinn from Requiem for a Heavyweight.

The figure grew popular, so much so that toy figures of the dog were produced, and "Yo quiero (X)" became a recognized piece of popular culture. The dog also started two additional catchphrases: "Drop the chalupa!" (which briefly became an oft-quoted phrase on SportsCenter)[5] and "Viva Gorditas!"[6] In a noted crossover with the 1998 Godzilla film, the dog tried to trap the monster in a box, goading the beast with the phrase, "Here, lizard, lizard, lizard!", only to see Godzilla's size and respond, "Uh-oh. I think I need a bigger box!" (a reference to Jaws),[7] and another Godzilla crossover involving him making an order through a drive-thru speaker on Godzilla's tail, making an order too large for the workers.

Some Latin Americans accused the dog of being a cultural stereotype.[8][9] Commercials that depicted the dog as a bandido with a sombrero[5] or as a revolutionary wearing a beret (similar to the one famously worn by Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara)[10][11] were seen as particularly insensitive. Mario G. Obledo, a civil rights leader, called for a boycott of Taco Bell if the company did not end the ad campaign.[10]

In July 2000, Taco Bell ended the chihuahua advertisements,[6][12] ended its relationship with their creator TBWA, and replaced the company's president, after same-store sales fell by 6% in the second quarter of 2000, the largest such decline in Taco Bell history.[13] It was incorrectly rumored that Taco Bell ended the commercials because the dog died.[14] Voice actor Tom Kenny, who is a friend of Alazraqui, said that Hispanic advocacy groups lobbying for the end of the campaign led to the cancelation of the Taco Bell dog.[15] Other reports say the use of the dog was discontinued because it failed to increase Taco Bell's revenue stream in spite of the dog's popularity.[16]

In 2003, Taco Bell lost a lawsuit by two Michigan men, who had pitched the concept of the Chihuahua to Taco Bell in 1996 at a Licensing Show in NYC. Taco Bell worked with Thomas Rinks and Joseph Shields for over a year developing the Chihuahua campaign and commercials under the name "Psycho Chihuahua", but Taco Bell failed to pay the men according to court documents. The men sued and, in 2003, a jury awarded them $30.1 million in compensation[17] plus nearly $12 million in additional interest three months later.[6] Taco Bell in turn sued TBWA saying it should have been aware of the conflicts. In 2009, a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled against Taco Bell.[18][19][20]

Further career and death[edit]

In later years, Gidget appeared in a 2002 commercial for insurance company GEICO[21] and as "Bruiser's Mom" in the 2003 movie Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.[citation needed]

Gidget died on July 21, 2009, at age 15 after having suffered a stroke in the home of her trainer, Sue Chipperton,[22] in Santa Clarita, California. She was cremated and her ashes were retained by her trainer. Taco Bell Corp. said in a statement that Gidget would be missed by many fans and said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to her owners and fans."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Taco Bell's top dog dies at 15". CNN.com.
  2. ^ Swanson, Sandra (May 4, 2007). "Officer Garcia Plus Carlos Alazraqui Gets More Laughs Than 'Reno 911!' Character". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, IL. Archived from the original on January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Meisler, Andy (August 16, 1992). "TELEVISION; Ren and Stimpy's Triumphant Return". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Neuwirth, Allan (2003). Makin' toons: inside the most popular animated TV shows and movies. Allworth Press. ISBN 9781581152692.
  5. ^ a b Kline, Daniel B.; Tomaszewski, Jason (2011). Worst Ideas Ever: A Celebration of Embarrassment. Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 14–3. ISBN 978-1-61608-262-8.
  6. ^ a b c Williams, Carol J. (2009-01-24). "Taco Bell loses $42 million Chihuahua ruling". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  7. ^ "Advertising Mascots - Animals". TV Acres. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Ben (May 11, 1998). "Popular Taco Bell Ad Campaign Raises Ire of Dog Lovers, Latinos". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on January 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Stevenson, Mark. Mexico slams Burger King for 'whopper' of insult. Associated Press. 13 April 2009.
  10. ^ a b Reyes, David (July 14, 1998). "Latino Leader Calls for Taco Bell Boycott". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  11. ^ Puente, Teresa (April 12, 1998). "¡Ay Chihuahua!". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  12. ^ "Taco Bell replaces top executive and Chihuahua, too". CNN. 2004-10-19. Archived from the original on June 21, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-04.
  13. ^ Hernandez, Greg; Johnson, Greg (2000-07-19). "Taco Bell Replaces Chief, Chihuahua as Sales Fall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011.[dead link]
  14. ^ "For Whom the Taco Bell Tolls". Snopes. 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  15. ^ Lawson, Tim and Alisa Persons. The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors. "192."
  16. ^ "Taco Bell Dog Death". Snopes.com.
  17. ^ "Michigan Creators Awarded $30.1 Million in Lawsuit over Ownership of Taco Bell's Chihuahua". thefreelibrary.com. 2003-06-04. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  18. ^ "Taco Bell Loses Chihuahua Case--Again". Amlaw Daily. January 26, 2009.
  19. ^ "Interview With Settlement Winner Tom Rinks". American Morning. CNN. 2003-06-05. Retrieved 2006-10-04.
  20. ^ "Douglas A. Dozeman - Grand Rapids". Lawyer of the Year 2003. Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2004. Retrieved 2006-10-04.
  21. ^ Walker, Rob (Aug 26, 2002). "The Recycled Mascot. Why is the Taco Bell Chihuahua selling car insurance?". Slate. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Taco Bell Chihuahua Dies". CBS News. July 22, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  23. ^ Jablon, Robert. "Taco Bell ad star Gidget the Chihuahua dies at 15". ABC News. Retrieved 18 November 2015.