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.
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