Page 18

Taco Bell During the late 1990s, Americans became entranced by

While the dog was cute, there were many who saw the

a big-eyed, big-eared chihuahua that represented fast-food

commercials as a negative reinforcement of stereotypes.

chain Taco Bell with a variety of sayings in Spanglish: “Yo

The ads, they said, likened Hispanics to animals “who have

Quiero Taco Bell,” “Drop the chalupa” and “Viva Gorditas.”

to scamper for food” (Martin).

The latter likened the rivalry between Burger King

The campaign, created by ad agency TBWA Chiat Day,

and Taco Bell to a revolutionary war that had been won by

also placed the dog in a variety of settings, including

Taco Bell. In a “breaking news update,” viewers were “up-

a retro-style room, listening to what can only be described

dated” about the success of Taco Bell’s campaign to oust

as taco porn on a speaker phone. In another setting, the

the Whopper as the hungry man’s meal of choice. The end

dog takes his date to an expensive restaurant, only to turn

of the commercial showed the campaign’s “glorious leader”

and leave because the menu is unsatisfactory (YouTube).

addressing the public. “Hasta La Vista, Whopper,” said

It’s humorous to see a tiny dog in these settings, but the

the Taco Bell chihuahua, dressed as one can only assume

context of the messages is still clear: Latino men like to

is Che Guevara (YouTube).

listen to porn and lack sophistication.


Think Before You Type | The Persistence and Evolution of Racial Stereotypes in Contemporary Design

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm  

Think Before You Type by Nancy Palm. 2012 Thesis