Taco Bell, the American fast food chain serving a number of Mexican and Tex-Mex foods on the go had one very memorable mascot from 1997-2000. Gidget, nicknamed the "Taco Bell Chihuahua," graced our television screens as the Taco Bell mascot.
Developed by international advertising agency, TBWA, and voiced by voice actor and stand-up comedian, Carlos Alazraqui, this bug-eyed talking chihuahua didn't have to say much for folks to fall in love with her. Just check out this blast from the past Taco Bell commercial from 1997. It was Gidget's first big breakout on the screen!
This spunky dog was used in an advertisement in the Northeastern United States in 1997 and made to speak through special effects. It's hard to forget the chihuahua's popular catchphrase, in a man's voice, during every commercial, "Yo Quiero Taco Bell!" ("I Want Taco Bell!"). The Taco Bell dog also gained two additional catchphrases, "Drop the Chalupa!" and "Viva Gorditas!."
This 12-pound chihuahua became so popular that toy figures and T-shirts of the chihuahua dog were produced and sold because she was loved by so many. At the height of her career, Gidget got some pretty extravagant treatment by traveling in a limo and sitting first-class in airplanes. She was even seated in Taco Bell's private jet for a trip to Manhattan to open up the New York Stock Exchange. How many dogs can say they've experienced that before?
Even though the Taco Bell commercials were extremely popular, in 2000 they ended abruptly since some accused the dog of being a cultural stereotype of hispanic people. There were rumors that Gidget had passed, however, that was not the case.
Gidget continued to live with her trainer, Sue Chipperton who tried to prevent the chihuahua from being mobbed by fans when out and about. She also expected Gidget to follow common commands and would avoid carrying her.
Even though Taco Bell commercials featuring the loveable pup ended in 2000, that didn't keep Gidget from starring on the big screen or being a figure in pop culture. In later years, Gidget appeared in a GEICO commercial as well as an ad campaign for Old Navy. And who could forget her role alongside Reese Witherspoon as Bruiser's mom in the 2003 movie, "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde."
Very focused on her career and having been featured in front of the camera most of her life, sadly, Gidget was euthanized in 2009 after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 15. Even though it's been over ten years since Gidget has passed, this hard working, sassy dog can still be remembered today for the big roles she starred in.